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What Parents Ought to Know About Common Food Allergy Research

Research is backing up what parents already know: the need for common food allergy help is on the rise.

At first, caring for a child with common food allergy problems may seem very uncommon. Unlike other parents, you have to start allergy cooking with ease, looking for special nutritional resources and otherwise keep your child healthy and happy.

Thankfully, more information comes out daily to help parents and offer guidance as your child grows up.

As a parent, you will be very surprised to see how easy it can be for common food allergies to impact kids and parents.

common allergy trigger

The most common food allergy triggers in children are gluten, egg, nut, wheat, yeast and milk.

allergy free food shopper

Some recent studies estimate that 60% of the population has some form of food allergy or intolerance. Other studies put that number even higher. One third of mothers surveyed modify their family's diet to accommodate a family member with a suspected food allergy.

milk allergy child

Only about 6% percent of children have a clinically proven, true allergic reaction to foods. According to two Journal of Clinical Immunology articles, milk is the most common food allergy, effecting 2% to 3% of all children. Remember, a true allergy is one where the immune system responds to a food within a couple hours after exposure to an offending food.

allergies and behavior

Food intolerances or sensitivities effect at least 55% of the population causing a delayed-onset of symptoms.

Food intolerances are generally manifested within the digestive system but can impact nearly every part of a child's body and even behavior.

allergies and genetics

None can predict who will have child food allergies but heredity plays a key role

  • A child with an allergy-suffering parent has a 30% to 40% chance of developing one too
  • A child with both parents suffering allergies has a 75% chance of developing one also
  • If neither parent has allergies, there is only a 10% to 15% chance the child will have one

food allergy treatment

85% of true childhood allergies, those to milk, soy and eggs in particular, disappear by the time a child is 3-years-old. Peanut and tree nut allergies, however, often persist into adulthood.

child eating habits

Organizations like ALCAT Worldwide have researched food intolerances and think they can sometimes be alleviated or eliminated.
  • Change eating habits by cutting out all offending foods from the diet for 3-12 months
  • Monitor the child's nutritional status to encourage their digestive system to fully develop or heal.
  • Re-introduce foods into the diet with few, if any, side effects.

exclusive breast feeding

It is possible to delay the onset of common food allergies in infants and prevent them in childhood. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, with moms avoiding foods containing peanuts and eggs prevents a child's exposure to the substances before their immune system is ready.

Another helpful technique is avoiding the introduction of any the highly allergenic solid foods until the age of two. The delay allows plenty of time to develop stronger immune and digestive systems.

ear infection child

The incidence of ear infections can also be decreased by avoiding highly-allergenic foods, specifically milk. A study published in the Annals of Allergy found that 78% of childhood ear infections are associated with food allergies and eliminating milk from the diet decreases the number of recurring ear infections.

food exposure

Although many food allergies show up after just two exposures to a particular food, consistent, frequent exposure to the same food increases a child's odds of developing an allergy to that food as he grows and develops.

That tendency is evident in Scandinavia, where large numbers of children are allergic to fish, and in Japan where many suffer from rice allergies.

Currently there is no cure for true food allergies. A complete avoidance of the offending foods is the most effective way to handle them.

However, as explained above, food intolerances can be successfully managed. But, regardless of a child's response to foods, incorporating healthy, non-allergenic and non-processed foods into her diet will strengthen her immune system and enable a healthy, fully-developed digestive system, which potentially can reduce the severity of her allergies.

Likewise, nutritional consultants like author Phyllis Balch agree that a diet rich with fruits, vegetables and varying grains and proteins is a good hedge against any child developing allergies in the future.

(Return to Kid Nutrition from this Common Food Allergy page)


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