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HEALTHY HABIT?: A new study has revealed that children who bite their nails may be less allergic to dust and animals

HEALTHY HABIT?: A new study has revealed that children who bite their nails may be less allergic to dust and animals

Kids who chew their fingers and suck thumbs may be less likely to get allergies

A shock study from scientists in New Zealand has found out that children who bite their nails or suck their thumb are less likely to have allergies - as exposure to germs early on may help the body’s immune system.

The stress-relieving habits mean that kids who have either one (or both) are less likely to be allergic to grass, pets, horses, dust mites and mould.

The study, published in the Pediatrics journal, followed the progress of 1,037 people from birth in 1972 to 1973 through to adulthood.

Children who sucked their thumb or bit their nails had a lower prevalence of sensitisation at the age of 13 than those who did not.

And children who both bit their nails and sucked their thumbs had an even lower risk of allergy at 31 per cent, the researchers found.

But the habits do not seem to have an impact on the risk of developing allergic diseases such as hay fever or asthma.

Professor Malcolm Sears said: “Our findings are consistent with the hygiene theory that early exposure to dirt or germs reduces the risk of developing allergies.

“While we don't recommend that these habits should be encouraged, there does appear to be a positive side to these habits.”

To keep the whole family healthy are superfoods, which also help to boost the immune system. Here are Asian Express’s top five:

HEART HEALTH: Avocados are fantastic for keeping the blood pumping around your body

HEART HEALTH: Avocados are fantastic for keeping the blood pumping around your body

Avocado

Taken from the pear family, these green fruits are cholesterol-free and super rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, keeping your heart in tip-top health.

Açai berries

Native to the rainforests of South America, the açai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a small purple berry that has been touted as a weight-loss and anti-aging aid. The fruit contains ultra high levels of antioxidants in the form of anthocyanins, which help fight heart disease and even cancer.  It contains oleic acid, the same heart-healthy fat that’s in olive oil.

Kefir

Kefir is an ancient drink that originated in Russia. It tastes very similar to yogurt and is made from fermented milk. In recent years, its popularity has soared due to growing interest in probiotics, which are known to boost the immune system and support digestive health. Find it in the refrigerated aisle at your local supermarket or health-food store.

Tofu

TERRIFIC TOFU: Chow down on tofu instead of meat and save yourself calories and money

TERRIFIC TOFU: Chow down on tofu instead of meat and save yourself calories and money

The high-protein base takes on the flavours it's paired with, adding bulk and substance to meals without added calories. You can toss it into stir-fries, scramble it up like eggs or add it to smoothies. It may even lower the risk of breast cancer in women.

Walnuts

NUT HERO: Walnuts are your ultimate friend when it comes to keeping in top health

NUT HERO: Walnuts are your ultimate friend when it comes to keeping in top health

You don’t need to eat a lot of them to tap into their power. Just a small handful a day will deliver a healthy dose of omega-3’s, alpha-linolenic acid, melatonin, copper, manganese and the hard-to-find gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E which helps protect your heart.

The nutty heroes also protect your brain and help slow the onset of
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.  If you don’t like the taste, try blending walnut butter into fruit smoothies, chopping them up in cereal or sprinkling them in salads.

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