Can you prevent the development of food allergies in your child? Find out what you can do for your child today to minimize the risk of developing food allergies!
Allergic diseases are considered a scourge of our time. Food allergy occurs in about 5-8% of children. Are you wondering what you can do to protect your child from this onerous disease? Below are some scientific facts that will allow you to choose the right course of action.
Your child’s likelihood of allergies increases if they are genetically burdened, that is, family members suffer from allergies. If there were no allergies in the family earlier, the risk of allergy in a child is only 5-15%. However, when one of the parents has symptoms of allergy, the probability of child’s illness is already 20-40%. The risk of disease is 25-35% if one of the siblings suffers from allergies. If two parents have another type of allergy, the child is at risk in 40-60%. If parents have identical allergy, children are at risk of allergies up to 50-80%.
Should I use an elimination diet during pregnancy?
In order to prevent the development of food allergies in your child, do not use a preventive diet with the elimination of potentially sensitizing foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In the prevention of allergy, do not give the infant soy preparations. Until now, it was thought that the mother’s low-allergenic diet, if not prevented, would at least reduce the severity of allergy symptoms in the child. However, research shows that the use of an elimination diet by a pregnant woman probably does not reduce the risk of allergy symptoms, but may have an adverse effect on the nutritional status of both the mother and the fetus. Therefore, the elimination of potentially sensitizing foods from pregnant women is not recommended.
Give up smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.
In children who both parents smoke 2-6 times more often, inhalation allergies occur, and the risk of asthma is eleven times higher. At this point, it should be emphasized that allergic disorders from the respiratory system very often turn into later into food allergies.
Prophylactic effects of breastfeeding.
It is recommended to breastfeed exclusively at least 6 months old. This will not prevent the final occurrence of allergy, but it will certainly delay its appearance and ease the course. The colostrum, that is, the food that forms in the first days after delivery, has a particularly high content of beneficial protective substances.l
Do you use an elimination diet during lactation (breastfeeding)?
There is no evidence that the elimination diet used by the nursing mother prevents the occurrence of allergies in the child. However, it can negatively affect the nutritional status and well-being of the mother who is nursing.
What if you are not breastfeeding and your child is at risk of allergies?
In this case, give your child hypoallergenic mixtures (marked with the abbreviation HA). They are milk replacers, in which proteins have undergone various degrees of hydrolysis, which significantly reduce their allergenic properties. Choosing the right nutrition and preparation for your child, discuss with your doctor.
When and how to introduce solid foods to your child’s nutrition?
According to the recommendation of the majority of experts, supplementary foods (ie other than mother’s milk or milk replacer) may be introduced into the diet of an artificially fed infant already after the age of 4 months and for a child exclusively breastfeeding after the age of 6 months. Currently, there is no evidence that delayed introduction of potentially allergenic foods (eg eggs, peanuts, other species of nuts, fish, gluten) reduces the risk of allergies.
What matters, however, is the choice of products introduced first. Start with rice gruel (does not contain gluten), wiped apple and our native vegetables (carrot, potato). Complementary foods are introduced in small amounts, sequentially and separately, at several days intervals. Follow your child’s reaction. Start with individual products, and over time enrich the dish with more. Do not start expanding your child’s diet with products with a higher degree of allergy, milk, citrus, fish, nuts, chocolate.
When to introduce cow’s milk?
Under the third year of life, do not give your child full cow’s milk, but the milk-replacing mixtures appropriate for his age. However, the acidified dairy products (curd cheese, natural yoghurt, kefir, sour milk and buttermilk, whey) can be given after the age of one.
Probiotics in the prevention of allergies.
Probiotics stimulate the so-called food tolerance, which reduces the likelihood of developing allergies. Probiotics are useful bacteria contained in some supplements (supplements) for diet and pharmaceutical preparations. They are also part of some of the milk replacer mixes.
And what about prebiotics?
Prebiotics are sugar compounds found in human milk and some types of infant formula. Although some of them reduce the risk of allergic diseases, their routine use is not recommended.
Threats from your child’s “living environment”.
As already mentioned, there is a total ban on exposure of a child to contact with tobacco smoke. Where possible, contact with potential allergens, such as house dust mites, animal dander, plant pollen, should be restricted. Significant importance in the development of allergies (not only food), also has environmental pollution and consumption of highly processed food.
The increase in the incidence of allergies is associated not only with environmental pollution and modern, consumer lifestyle. There is also a “hygienic” theory that suggests that the more children are protected against germs (the less the immune system has to fight them), the more susceptible they are to allergies. On the other hand, viral and bacterial infections weaken the immune system. Therefore, it is recommended that if possible, children with a tendency to allergy should be brought up as long as possible in a family environment. Being out of the large concentrations of children reduces its exposure to potential infectious agents viruses, bacteria, parasites.