Want to hear something nuts? Peanut allergies kill more people than any other food allergy. Even the smallest trace of peanuts, slipped into your restaurant order or snack, can be fatal for someone who is allergic. Your throat swells up, you find it difficult to breathe… it’s truly an awful experience. But science has found a way to prevent this. The answer? Fight fire with fire, or rather, peanuts with peanuts.
A few years ago, when peanut allergies were on the rise, doctors advised patients to stop feeding their kids peanuts. The thinking was: less peanuts = less allergies. But we were wrong. In fact, it seems that – by avoiding peanuts, more kids developed the allergy. So, in 2015, scientists did a study, where they gave peanuts to babies aged 4 to 11 months. The results? The risk for peanut allergy was actually reduced by up to 80%!
Dr. John Rodarte, of Descanso Pediatrics/Huntington Health Physicians, now recommends that you introduce peanuts to your baby before 6 months of age. “Not as your first food. But at six months of age or later you can start introducing peanuts in a form that’s appropriate for babies.” Kids that are at high risk for the allergy, are introduced to peanuts even sooner – as early as 4 months.
So, as long as you don’t give your baby whole peanuts – a choking hazard – you’d be doing them a lifelong favour, by adding a bit of sugar-free, natural peanut-butter to their snacks from 4 months old. It’s not often that a life-saving strategy is this easy, and delicious, too!