Food allergies have nearly doubled in the United States in recent years, with peanut and egg allergies being two of the most common. Even with schools going nut-free left and right, parents today have a lot more to worry about when it comes to feeding their kids. But according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the key to preventing peanut and egg allergies might be as simple as having your kids try the foods early.
Researchers analyzed information from 146 studies published over the past 70 years, which involved data from more than 200,000 children. The results showed that kids who were fed peanuts when they were 4 to 11 months old were 70 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy, while children who had their first taste of eggs when they were 4 to 6 months old had a 40-percent reduced risk to egg allergies. Based on these findings, study author Dr. Robert Boyle, a pediatric allergy researcher at Imperial College London, posits that peanuts and eggs should be among the first foods for most babies.
He is not alone -- although doctors once recommended that children avoid high-risk foods like peanuts and eggs until the age of 2 or 3, the tide is changing. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated early peanut introduction for kids with a high risk of peanut allergy. And according to an editorial accompanying the new JAMA study, a similar recommendation from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is forthcoming. Researchers also looked at whether giving kids wheat early might decrease the risk of that other food allergy we’re always hearing about, gluten, but did not find a link.
For those who are allergic to peanuts and eggs (and don’t have a time machine!), we've got you covered with all kinds of delicious nut-free snacks and desserts and our tried-and-true egg-free desserts everyone will love.