New study reveals early peanut butter consumption can prevent childhood allergies

Parents typically introduce nuts into children’s diets at an older age because of concerns about choking hazards and the risk of allergies. However, a new study challenges this conventional wisdom, presenting findings indicating peanut butter can be safely given to children under the age of 5 and may offer numerous benefits.

A research team from King’s College London conducted this study in response to the rising rates of childhood allergies. According to the BBC, one in 50 children in the UK has a nut allergy, with peanuts being banned in most schools. The study, which began 15 years ago, focused on the behaviour of 640 children at high risk for peanut allergies. Half of these children avoided peanuts, while the other half started consuming them from as early as four months old.

The results were striking: children who began eating peanut butter at a young age had significantly fewer allergies by the age of 5. As these children were monitored into their teenage years; the data revealed that only 4 out of 100 of those who regularly consumed peanuts developed an allergy to the nut after the age of 12. Overall, the occurrence of allergies in these children was reduced by 71%.

The benefits of early peanut butter introduction

Introducing peanut butter early can have long-term benefits:

  • Reduced allergy risk: Starting peanut butter early can lower the chances of developing a peanut allergy.
  • Healthier diets: Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats.
  • Positive long-term effects: Studies show continued benefits into adolescence.

Overcoming parental concerns

Understandably, the thought of peanut butter can alarm parents who tend to avoid giving nuts to their children until a certain age. However, it may be time to reconsider their dietary approach. Professor Gideon Lack from King’s College London recommends that children consume small amounts of peanut spread starting at a young age, about 3 to 4 times a week. This method could potentially prevent around 100,000 cases of allergies worldwide.

Key takeaways

  • Start early: Introducing peanut butter as early as four months can be beneficial.
  • Consistency is key: We recommend regular consumption of 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Monitor closely: Always consult with a paediatrician before making dietary changes.

By following these guidelines, parents can help reduce the risk of peanut allergies in their children, contributing to healthier, happier lives.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire Greece
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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