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Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Throughout my entire childhood (which I bid a fond farewell to roughly a decade ago), I can remember one person I knew with a food allergy—a boy at summer camp who was so allergic to peanuts we couldn’t serve peanut butter in the dining hall. Back then banning peanut butter felt like a foreign concept; today it seems common. I’ve often wondered if the apparent rise in food sensitivities is all in my head. Whether I was just oblivious to friends and classmates who couldn’t eat eggs, nuts, wheat, or other allergenic foods, and whether I’m simply more aware of food allergies now, working at Parents. That doesn’t appear to be the case. According to Food Allergy Research and Education, food allergies are on the rise: The number of people with a food allergy rose 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, and today 1 in 13 kids is affected, or roughly two in every classroom. What if there was a way to stop this trend in its tracks? A recent study from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests parents may be able to do just that, by introducing the most common allergenic foods—cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish—around the time you start solids, generally between 4 and 6 months. “Food allergies have increased in the last 10 years, and it’s possible that delaying the introduction of allergenic foods has contributed to that,” says study coauthor David Fleischer, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health, in Denver, Colorado. “There’s a window of tolerance for preventing food allergies.”
Before now there haven’t been any updated guidelines on how to give these foods to a child, and some parents may still follow the recommendations from 13 years ago, which advised against offering your child cow’s milk until age 1, eggs until age 2, and nuts and fish until age 3. But after looking over past research, Dr. Fleischer says it’s safe—and beneficial—to introduce these foods earlier, with a couple exceptions. Children with moderate to severe eczema, which puts them at higher risk for food allergies, and those who’ve already had a reaction to an allergenic food should see an allergist before trying any of the above (and below!) mentioned foods.
Now, without further ado, the most recent advice for introducing cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish:
- Do not offer your child one of these highly allergenic foods as the first solid. Begin with rice or oat cereal, vegetables, or fruit to see how your child handles them. Once you’ve successfully introduced a few of these foods, you can begin to offer foods like fish, eggs, and yogurt.
- The first time you introduce an allergenic food, give it to your child at home, rather than at day care or a restaurant. If there is no apparent reaction—including hives, a rash, swelling, breathing problems, vomiting, or diarrhea—continue to offer the food to your child, gradually increasing the amount.
- Offer one new food every 3 to 5 days if you don’t see any reactions.
- Continue to avoid whole cow’s milk until age 1, but not because of allergy risk—it can lead to kidney complications and may affect iron levels in the body. Cheese, yogurt, and milk-based formulas are fine to offer.
- Peanuts and tree nuts pose a choking risk, so should not be offered before age 1, but nut butters are safe. If you have an older child with a nut allergy, see an allergist before offering peanut butter to your younger child—he’s at an increased risk for developing a peanut allergy.
Image: Spoon and jar of peanut butter
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Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Big news, you guys. You know that delicious bowl (or, um, sometimes pseudo-bucket) of olive oil they give you at every Italian restaurant? The one you sometimes feel a little guilty about sopping up with tons of gorgeously crusty bread? Well, scientists have just proven that indulging in a bit of olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease. And? It’s a smart diet to borrow from during pregnancy—minus the recommended glasses of vino, of course!
Along with a focus on olive oil, the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet studied included servings of fish every week (make sure it’s not a high mercury fish!), including plenty of nuts and legumes, and avoiding processed meats and snacks. No calorie counting. No cardboard-tasting diet foods. Just a delicious “diet” that can save your life.
The really cool thing is that the Mediterranean diet has extra health benefits for pregnant women and their babes-to-be: olive oil (and the olives it comes from), fish, and legumes all contain healthy fatty acids, which are vital in developing your baby’s nervous system—including her brain. Add in a bunch of fruits and veggies for balance, and you’ve got yourself a smart and scrumptious pregnancy feast!
Can’t wait to try the Mediterranean diet? Try this Grilled Greek Salad or Tilapia with Lemony Herb Salad. Yum!
If you’ve got any other good recipes that would go with the Mediterranean diet, put them in the comments.
Image of olive oil via Shutterstock.
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fatty acids, fish, Food, health, Mediterranean diet, Nutrition, olive oil, Pregnancy, pregnant, recipes | Categories:
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
US Preterm Birth Rate Lowest in a Decade
The percentage of babies born early in the United States in 2011 was the lowest in a decade, according to a new report from the non-profit March of Dimes. (via NBC News)
Fantasy-Reality Confusion a Primary Cause of Childhood Nighttime Fears
In a new study, published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development, researchers found that preschoolers with persistent nighttime fears were far less able to distinguish reality from fantasy compared to their peers. (via ScienceDaily)
When Babies Eat Fish Could Be Link to Asthma
Babies who first ate fish between the ages of six months and one year had a lower risk of developing asthma-like symptoms later on than babies who ate fish before six months or after their first birthdays, according to a Dutch study. (via Reuters)
Road to Language Learning Is Iconic
Languages are highly complex systems and yet most children seem to acquire language easily, even in the absence of formal instruction. New research on young children’s use of British Sign Language (BSL) sheds light on one mechanism — iconicity — that may play an important role in children’s ability to learn language. (via ScienceDaily)
Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief
In a brief released Tuesday, National Education Policy Center managing director Dr. William Mathis urges policymakers to invest in high-quality preschool education, citing its universally acknowledged economic and social benefits. (via Huffington Post)
Columbus Officials Will Likely Face Criminal Referrals For Falsifying Ohio Student Data
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As state officials said there’s a “strong likelihood” they’ll refer Columbus school employees for criminal prosecution at the end of their student-data probe, the district confirmed yesterday that federal authorities also are investigating. (via Huffington Post)
asthma, Babies, childhood, education, fish, language learning, learning, nightmares, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, preschool, preschoolers, preterm birth rate | Categories:
Monday, January 31st, 2011
The United States Department of Agriculture released new dietary guidelines today recommending that Americans eat more fish. This recommendation is particularly important for pregnant and breastfeeding women since new research shows that nutrients found in seafood play an important factor in babies’ brain and eye development.
Everyone one needs to eat at least 8 to 12 ounces of fish (that’s 2 to 3 servings) a week. The average American eats one serving of seafood a week and pregnant and/or breastfeeding women eat less than one half of a serving of seafood a week, according to the National Fisheries Institute .
Limiting or avoiding seafood during pregnancy can result in suboptimal brain development, slower eye development, and lower rates of positive birth outcomes, says Dr. J. Thomas Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University. Mothers also benefit from eating 2 to 3 servings of fish per week, as some research shows that the nutrients can reduce pre-partum and postpartum depression.
However, these recommendations only apply to eating fish as a whole food, rather than substituting the food for a fish-oil supplement. Supplements lack the other nutrients found in fish.
Eating omega-3 fatty acids found in fish also decreases the risk of heart disease. “By giving people fish as food you’re doing so much more since you’re getting rid of foods that would have had a detrimental effect on cardiac disease,” says Dr. Louis Aronne, internist and director of Comprehensive Weight Program at Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and clinical professor of medicine at Cornell University.
The Federal Drug Administration tells pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoiding eating fish like Shark, Tilefish, Swordfish, and King Mackerel that have higher levels of mercury. (Yet, Dr. Brenna says that those toxicological effects were hypothetical and we, as consumers, should be positive about encouraging more consumption of seafood.)
A quick and easy way to add seafood to your diet is to swap out the same old proteins in your favorite recipes.
Check out some of our favorite fish recipes:
Find out more information about the new USDA dietary guidelines here.
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