A study has found that giving certain foods to babies may help reduce their risk of food allergies later on. Previous studies have suggested avoiding giving babies certain foods as it could lead to allergies, but the new findings suggests otherwise.
The study of nearly 1,400 children found that babies that grew up eating peanuts, eggs, or cow’s milk within the first year had a lower risk of becoming sensitized to these foods. Being sensitized means that a skin reaction will show when tested but does not necessarily mean that it is a full-blown allergy. It does reveal that the child may be on her way to a future food allergy.
Lead author Maxwell Tran said the research “supports the paradigm shift that parents should not hesitate to introduce allergenic foods, especially cow’s milk, peanuts, and eggs. This will reduce the likelihood of sensitization.” Senior author Dr. Malcolm Sears added, “Earlier is better. Don’t be afraid to introduce these foods.” Sears does note that early introduction to these foods doesn’t necessarily mean that a child won’t develop an allergy, but it is a means to possibly reduce the risk of one.
Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, the chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center, added, “The old train of thought was that the immune system is in flux for the first three years of life, and if exposed during that vulnerable period, food allergies might develop. But some of the old thoughts on how allergies develop and how best to treat them are changing.”
Additional research is required to better understand allergies, but if you come from a family with allergies, specifically food allergies, speak to your doctor about the introduction of certain foods.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Side effect of allergy medication you didn’t know.