Minimizing the Likelihood of Food Allergies and Digestive Problems

Babies born to a parent with allergies have a 48% chance of having their own version of allergies. Children born to two parents with allergies have a 70% chance of a similar food allergy. Despite the care that parents are taking to follow proper guidelines regarding food and infancy, the instances of allergies continue to rise. In 2006, 6.8 million children suffered from some kind of allergy and these children are two to four times more likely to have related conditions such as allergies or asthma as well.

Cleanliness and Allergies

One of the factors that many scientists are pointing to as leading the increase in allergies is the cleanliness with which we raise our children. In ultra-sterile environments, babies don’t come into contact with many forms of bacteria and food items which is believed to lead to allergies to the said food items later in life. This theory is supported by a recent study on nuts. 8,600 Jewish children in the UK and Israel were studied. It was found that those who did not consume nuts in early childhood were ten times more likely to develop a nut allergy.

If this is the case, it would seem that our efforts to remove potential allergens from a child’s diet backfires and causes them to be more allergenic in the end. Most disturbing is the thought that the more sterile your home, the more allergy prone your child will become.

Proper Food Introduction

Many babies display food sensitivities at a young age. These are similar to, but are not actually allergies. The food sensitivity will disappear over time while the allergy will remain for a lifetime. To test for food sensitivities and allergies, you should begin introducing fruits, vegetables, grains and meat between six months and a year of age. Introduce the foods one at a time to make it easier to spot a food that might be causing a problem.

Diarrhea and a slight rash is a sign of a food sensitivity. If this is the case, simply mark that food off the list for six months before trying it again. Swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing are signs of a food allergy. Discuss the situation with the doctor and then you’ll likely remove that food item from your child’s diet.

After one year, babies can try cow’s milk, eggs, chocolate, strawberries, citrus fruit and soy. At two years you can introduce eggs and as your child approaches three, he is ready for nuts and fish. Remain vigilant about trying new foods, and carefully consider delaying foods more than the standard recommendation of time if you are trying to prevent allergies – you might very well introduce one. This might also be true for avoiding foods in pregnancy. Early exposure in the womb might help to offset future allergies as well.

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