(NaturalNews) Research now indicates that 8 percent of children have some kind of food allergy. Common childhood food allergies include reactions to peanuts, nuts, seafood, soy, wheat, and eggs. Medical professionals try to help parents avoid specific foods that seem to be the root of childhood allergies.
According to new research from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, food allergies may not come from specific foods but may be developed through overall diet patterns. In essence, conventional medical advice may be misleading parents. The research finds that food allergies exist less often when a baby is raised on a fresh food diet. A nut allergy, for example, may actually derive from a baby's underdeveloped immune system due to an overall poor diet comprised of processed foods.
"We have been aware that certain diets seem to reduce the risk of allergy in infants," said Dr. Magnus Wickman, professor at the Karolinska Institute. Wickman attests that when essential fatty acids and antioxidants are introduced into a baby's diet early, food allergies could be prevented altogether.
Kate Grimshaw, a UK researcher at the University of Southampton thinks likewise and is concerned that parents might be blindly reducing their child's nutritional intake by taking a doctor's advice about a specific food allergy.
Overall diet linked to childhood food allergies
To further understand food allergies, Grimshaw set out to study babies' overall diet patterns to find missing links in food allergies. As reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Grimshaw instructed 1,140 parents to record food diaries on their babies. During the first year, 41 babies were medically diagnosed with a food allergy. The 41 allergic babies were then compared to 82 similar infants who had no food allergy. The research broke down the babies' diets according to the parents' diaries.
The results were telling. They found out that babies without food allergies were fed more nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and fish.
The babies with food allergies had a diet that included much more processed foods, microwaveable dinners, pre-made sauces, potato chips, and bacon.
"The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two," Grimshaw said.
Dr. Wickman said that there is no evidence that avoiding allergenic foods, such as nuts, fish and eggs is beneficial in preventing food allergies.
Grimshaw sums it up, "We know that there are nutrients in the diet that educate the immune system. And one could argue that if they're not there in adequate amounts when the child's immune system is developing, that may be one way that this is working."
Building a baby's immune system
Grimshaw's advice is simple for parents who want their children to avoid and overcome food allergies. Grimshaw's advice basically means that it's vital to build a baby's immune system starting the day they are born. Feeding the baby whole foods is essential. The first week of breastfeeding is most important, which is when colostrum is passed on to the baby. Colostrum is essentially a 100% all natural and safe vaccine for the baby, a thick and sticky milk that is full of antibodies and living cells that build a child's immune system. This powerhouse of nutrition, carbohydrates, and protein passes on immunoglobulin A (IgA) and eventually seals a baby's gastrointestinal tract with a protective layer that prevents toxins from penetrating into the bloodstream.
Parents have a unique responsibility to nurture their child in the crucial first years. Hemp seed, which is full of essential fatty acids, would be great to blend into baby food. Blueberries, which contain a high level of antioxidants, are perfect. Probiotics will work wonders for maintaining the baby's positive gut flora.
Feeding the child antibiotics will destroy the child's immune system altogether, destroying the gut's microorganism balance and inviting potential food allergies. Sugar will also suppress a child's immune system. Studies show that just 25 grams of refined sugar can shut down a child's immune system for five hours.
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