Much has been written about food allergies and whether it is possible to prevent them from occurring in kids. While the research still throws up conflicting reports, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the risks.
Food allergies in babies and kids are on the rise in the United States, and parents are naturally anxious about this. This is because food allergies can have a severe impact on a child’s life. Obviously, raising a little one can be very stressful. The last thing you need is to have to worry about special diets. Therefore, we have put together these five tips on how to prevent food allergies so everyone can relax a little bit.
Types of Food Allergies
Before we reveal our tips, it is a good idea to take a quick look at the most common allergens and the symptoms you should look out for when you start introducing new foods into your child’s diet.
The most common food allergens include:
It is possible that your little one may outgrow an initial allergy, or they may only have a mild intolerance. Either way, it is vital that you closely monitor their dietary intake and eliminate allergens from their diet if they consistently react negatively.
Food allergies come with a variety of symptoms that will vary depending on the severity of the allergy. In general, if your child has an allergy, they will usually develop a rash immediately after eating. But this is just one of a whole host of symptoms such as:
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy or watery eyes
If you suspect that your child is allergic to a specific food, eliminate it from their diet and arrange for them to be tested. They may only have an intolerance to a particular allergen.
Methods of Prevention
Although there are no tried and true ways to prevent your child from developing a food allergy, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of them developing symptoms.
1. Start Introducing Allergens While You Are Pregnant – If you do not have any existing allergies, then it is a good idea to continue eating the foods mentioned above while you are pregnant. Quite a bit of research has found that this can help to minimize the risk of developing allergies. Avoiding these foods can actually have a detrimental effect on your baby’s development, as you will be limiting the intake of these essential nutrients.
2. Breastfeed – Breast milk has many health benefits for the baby, and one of these is that it helps to regulate and develop the immune system. This is particularly useful when you start to introduce allergens such as dairy products.
3. Introduce Different Allergens at Different Times – When you start introducing allergens, it is a good idea to introduce them at different times so it is easier to monitor which, if any, cause a reaction. The sooner you identify allergies, the higher the chance that your child will outgrow them.
4. Start When You Are Ready – Recent research has suggested that it might be a good idea to introduce things like peanuts and eggs earlier. It is usually a good idea to trust your instincts with this one, and if you’re unsure, talk it through with your pediatrician.
5. Minimize Packaged Foods – Naturally produced foods will always be better for your child than processed foods. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help your child develop a much healthier immune system and hopefully keep any allergies at bay.