Study: Early Exposure To Peanuts Usually Prevents Peanuts Allergies
Coincidentally, last week, I was having a drink with a bunch of Israelis who made the argument to me that peanut allergies were an American thing: babies in Israel just don’t have any. This was surprising to me, since there is substantial genetic overlap between the Israeli population and the American population (at least, my circles–which include many peanut-allergic people). How do we explain the difference?
Well, some academics have just released a study showing the likely explanation.
In short: Israeli kids eat peanuts since they are very young, while kids from a similar ethnic background in London don’t. The result? The israelis grow up without peanut allergies, while the Brits do.
So, it seems like the best strategy isn’t to keep your kids away from peanuts–but the opposite: to give them some, so they build up a tolerance!
According to the Times of Israel:
Exposing infants like these to peanuts before age 1 actually helped prevent a peanut allergy, lowering that risk by as much as 81 percent, doctors found. Instead of provoking an allergy, early exposure seemed to help build tolerance.
In conclusion: give your kids peanuts early on and regularly, to help build up a tolerance. And perhaps this applies to other foods, as well? I’m giving my baby spicy foods, just so he accustomed. But I haven’t seen any scientific studies on that.
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