The past few years have seen a significant rise in food-related allergies. The United States has seen a 400% increase in peanut-allergic individuals since 1997. Allergic peoples’ reactions to trigger foods have also become more severe and, in some cases, fatal. However, new studies show how parents could prevent a food allergy in their children.
Contrary to previous popular knowledge, feeding peanuts to very young children (less than one year old) will not cause an allergy, as was thought, but actually prevent one. The New England Journal of Medicine has published research that found that, of children who ate peanut-based snacks on a regular basis starting before 11 months of age and continuing until age five, only 3% acquired an allergy, compared to 17% of children who abstained from similar foods and later became allergic. Children who participated in the study already showed other food-related allergies, demonstrating a predisposition.
Such findings could change the way parents raise their children and constitute a natural way to prevent allergies, eliminating the need for medicines and treatments later on in life.