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6 Natural Ways to Reduce the Peanut Allergy

4. Bromelain

Bromelain has been traditionally used as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agent.

A 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine tested the efficacy of bromelain against atopic conditions such as asthma, food allergies and dermatitis.

Researchers found that bromelain inhibited allergic airway disease and the data provided additional insight into bromelain’s anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties.

These bromelain health benefits may help people with allergies to reduce peanut allergy symptoms and the results of an overactive immune system.

5. Supplement with a Multivitamin

Research has shown that children with multiple food allergies are at a higher risk of poor growth and a deficient vitamin and mineral intake.

Studies indicate that children with food allergies are commonly deficient in vitamin D, copper, zinc and selenium.

For children with allergies, a 3 to 7 day food diary can point out the possibility of vitamin deficiencies.

Making sure that children with food allergies receive the micronutrients they need will help to boost their immune system and regulate their immunological response to allergens.

6. Introduce Peanuts Earlier

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine included 640 infants (at least 4 months old but less than 11 months old) with severe eczema, egg allergy or both who were randomly selected to consume or avoid peanuts until 60 months of age.

What researchers found was “the early introduction of peanuts significantly decreased the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy and modulated immune responses to peanuts.”

This study suggests that you may be able to reduce the risk of your child developing a peanut allergy simply by introducing peanuts to them at a very young age; however, such a step needs to be done with extreme caution, usually within the supervision of a doctor.

In early 2017, health experts, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, released clinical guidelines to aid in the introduction of peanut-containing foods to infants at an earlier age. The guidelines contain three different suggestions based on the infant’s risk:

  1. Infants at high risk (infants who have eczema, an egg allergy or both), should have peanut-containing foods as early as four to six months of age. Be sure to check with your infant’s healthcare provider first as he or she may perform an allergy blood test or recommend a specialist based on your child’s health and medical history. The doctor may recommend that these foods be introduced under supervision or not at all.
  2. Infants with mild to moderate eczema should have peanut-containing foods around six months. This may vary depending on your family’s dietary preferences. Once again, it is important to tell your healthcare provider about your intention to introduce peanut-containing foods as supervision may still be suggested.
  3. Infants with no eczema or food allergies can be introduced peanut-containing foods freely.

Regardless of the infant’s risk, all infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut-containing foods. You should also never give infants whole peanuts as they may choke. Instead, try peanut powder or paste in small amounts.

Precautions

Peanuts may be present less obvious foods because they came in contact with peanuts during the manufacturing process. That’s why it’s so important to look for labels that guarantee the product was made in a peanut-free facility.

People with peanut allergies need to avoid all products that contain even trace amounts of peanuts, and that may be true for some of these peanut alternatives (like almond and sunflower seed butter), so read the labels carefully.

Any form of peanut oral immunotherapy should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Babies should not be given peanut oil or any food containing peanut butter unless advised by his pediatrician.

Final Thoughts

  • Approximately 1 percent to 2 percent (or more) of the U.S. population has a peanut allergy — about 3 million people — a percentage that continues to rise.
  • In the past two decades, the prevalence of peanut allergies has more than quadrupled, up from 0.4 percent of the U.S. population in 1997 to 1.4 percent in 2008 to more than 2 percent in 2010.
  • It’s most prevalent among children under 3 years old, and the risk of developing a peanut allergy increases to 7 percent for a sibling of a child with a peanut allergy.
  • Peanuts are among the “big eight” food allergies, along with eggs, fish, milk, tree nuts, shellfish, soya and wheat.
  • Peanut allergy symptoms include itchy skin, itchy throat, runny nose, nausea and anaphylaxis (in rare cases).
  • Several recent studies indicate that there’s strong evidence that peanut allergies can be reduced by introducing infants to peanuts early on, and that oral immunotherapy with peanut protein helps to reduce symptom severity after peanut exposure.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter can be harmful if they aren’t organic.
  • Foods such as almonds, almond butter, sunflower seed butter and tahini serve as good peanut and peanut butter alternatives.

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Written by Rachel Wilson

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