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Feeding Babies With Eggs And Peanuts Early In Life May Lower Risk For Allergies

Feeding Babies With Eggs And Peanuts Early In Life May Lower Risk For Allergies

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 04:44 AM EDT
PB&J Sandwich
Study suggests that exposing babies to eggs and peanuts early may lower the risk of allergies. Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr CC BY 2.0

The incidence of food allergies have increased in recent years and it has become a problem when it comes to feeding children. However, a new study suggests that making kids eat eggs and peanuts early in life may reduce the risk of developing allergies to these foods when they grow up.

According to Time, not long ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that allergenic foods should be kept away from infants until they reach at least a year old, or sometimes even older. The warning was strongly issued especially to those with a family history of allergies. However, according to a study published in the same issue of JAMA, it emphasized that in the next decade or so, the prevalence of food allergy will double in the United States.

The advice given has been modified and there are newer evidence showing that introducing children as early as possible is actually better to prevent food allergies. The authors of the study which was just published analyzed all the given evidence on the topic including 146 studies in their final analysis.

Live Science reported these studies exactly analyzed when foods were given to children during their first year of life. The results also showed that kids who were fed eggs at 4 to 6 months old were 40 percent less likely to develop an egg allergy, as compared with those who were introduced to eggs later. Also, children who were fed food that contained peanuts (like peanut butter) at the age of 4 to 11 months old had a 70 percent less risk of developing peanut allergy, than those who were introduced to peanuts later.

The findings claim that "introducing egg and peanut at an early age may prevent the development of egg and peanut allergy, the two most common childhood food allergies," according to a statement issued by study co-author Dr. Robert Boyle, a pediatric allergy researcher at Imperial College London.

However, Dr. Boyle explained that those children who already have a food allergy or those who have another allergic condition like eczema, should not be introduced to eggs and peanuts early in life. "Parents of these children should speak with the doctor before introducing these potentially allergenic foods, he said. Boyle also noted that babies and toddlers should not be fed whole nuts because there is a risk of choking. Instead, they should be given smooth peanut butter," Boyle said reported The Telegraph.

Meanwhile, the study also investigated at the early introduction of milk, fish (including shellfish), tree nuts (such as almonds) and wheat. However, the researchers did not find any link between the early introduction of these foods and a reduced risk of allergy to them.

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