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Peanuts for Your Peanut?

Peanuts for Your Peanut?

Peanuts for Your Peanut? | Allergy recommendations have changed

What says childhood more than a peanut butter and jelly (better yet, banana!) sandwich with a glass of milk?  Unfortunately, that’s a memory that many children today will not experience because of the back and forth regarding the best time to introduce common allergenic foods (like nuts) to them.  With 90% of food allergies affecting young children, it’s no wonder this is such a hot topic! 

In the mid 90’s, it was recommended that children avoid foods known to be allergenic until 1-3 years of age.  As a result, foods like milk, peanuts, soy and fish for example were not offered to very young children during the infant and toddler years!  Similar guidance was given to expecting moms too, as doctors were fearful that eating them could raise allergy risk!  However, the medical community re-thought it’s council on the matter and gave the green light for eating peanuts during pregnancy.  Shortly after, international recommendations eventually changed again for children too!  In 2016 it was recommended that peanut butter and other allergens be introduced to the diet before 12 months of age! 

One Melbourne Study compared 2,000 infants enrolled in the 2018 EarlyNuts study with about 5,000 enrolled in the HealthNuts study from 2007 finding a 16% decrease in peanut allergy prevalence as the recommendations changed for early introduction!  While more research is needed in order to determine a cause and effect relationship between peanuts and allergy risk in children, introducing these foods at an early age remains of high interest to parents and health professionals.  Peanuts in particular are nutrient dense and considered a highly acceptable food by children, providing a source of protein, healthy fats and minerals and fiber. 

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