Back in 2000, parents were advised to avoid giving their children allergenic foods such as eggs, nuts, and fish until they were two and three respectively, but now American health experts are changing their tune and suggesting you should actually give your children these foods as early as possible.
Citing numerous studies which suggest the earlier a child is given allergenic food, the less likely they are to react to it as adults, experts now suggest introducing the foods to children as young as four months.
Frank Greer, MD, FAAP, co-author of the clinical report, said: “We know that some children are predisposed to allergies because of their family history.
“It’s clear that sometimes nutrition can play a key role in preventing or minimising allergies that can be concerning – or even deadly – for some children.”
Co-author Dr Scott Sicherer, MD, added, “There is no reason to delay giving your baby foods that are thought of as allergens like peanut products, eggs or fish… These foods can be added to the diet early, just like foods that are not common allergens, like rice, fruits, or vegetables.”
In 2001, 5.3% of American adults had a diagnosed food allergy. That jumped to 6.5% in 2010, and again to 10.8% in 2016.
Most of those (90%) are triggered by eight foods: cow milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean.