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Food allergies seem to be on the rise and feared in the schools. Students can no longer bring baked goods for classmates’ birthdays and some cannot bring old favorites (PB & J sandwiches and crackers) for lunch! Children with severe peanut allergies may break out in a rash immediately after simply being touched on the face with peanut butter.
Registered Dietitians strongly encourage you to make or purchase an identification bracelet for your son or daughter with the allergen listed, and have information sheets in the home for babysitters, family, and guests to learn hidden ingredients. Children and adults with moderate to severe food allergies can improve their nutrition and skin care while adhering to an elimination diet. Registered Dietitians focus on the importance of probiotics, breast – feeding, hydration, cross – reactivity, optimum vitamin and mineral consumption, exercise, and adequate sleep.
Why the Increase in Documented Food Allergies Now?
The improved hygiene of our society has caused changes in the infant’s digestive tract, which directly affects the immune system’s maturation process. Premature food introduction of highly engineered foods may also be to blame, especially cow’s milk, soy – based foods, peanuts and wheat. Chocolate, long thought by some parents to be a culprit among children, seldom is a cause of food allergy. The development of food allergy may precede the development of other atopic diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and asthma. Infants with eczema should be evaluated for food allergies.
Risk for Food Allergies Begins with Pre – Natal Care
Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus GG, directly affect the intestinal tract by changing and adding to the glut flora, and this may prevent food allergy development and incidence of atopic dermatitis. By supplementing the pregnant woman one month before delivery, or by providing the infant with six months’ treatment of probiotic therapy that food allergy – related atopic eczema can be reduced. Infants can receive probiotics from the nursing mother or with direct supplementation. Fermented dairy products, including live – culture yogurts and kefir, contain forms of beneficial bacteria. Other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso and tempeh, may also be cultured with beneficial bacteria. However, the concentration of bacteria contained in food products varies significantly. Registered Dietitians recommend choosing dairy products labeled with “contains live active cultures” and supplemental probiotics – Align – 1 capsule/day or Pearls – 1 pill/day.
Continues with the Mother – Infant Bond: Breast Feeding
Breast – feeding remains the golden standard for the infant’s best nutrition and protection against food allergy disease, but it does not eliminate the risk of developing food allergies. Even as little as three months of exclusive breast – feeding reduces the potentially atopic infant’s risk of food allergy development. Breast – feeding mothers are strongly encouraged to limit consumption of cow’s milk, eggs, and peanuts as these allergens can pass into the breast milk and cause sensitization and then an allergic reaction. Hypersensitivity to foods is most common in the first one to two years of life, and most infants outgrow their sensitivities by age three. For peace of mind, introduce the common food allergens one at a time after one year of age: eggs, peanuts, cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soy.
After One Year of Age: Food Introduction and Hydration
With the guidance of a Registered Dietitian and A Joneja Food Allergen Scale, mothers can introduce appropriate foods from each food group based on allergenicity. Foods are listed from the highest to lowest allergenicity. However, people vary in their reactivity to foods and show a different pattern of reactivity depending on their individual characteristics. The scale is based on a traditional North American diet. Persons following ethnic diets tend to show a different order of allergenicity.
Appropriate fluid consumption improves skin turgor, mucous membranes, blood pressure and body temperature, digestion, and appetite. Drink water ahead of your thirst. Today’s youth need at least three cups of water a day to sustain everyday life and exercise. Sugary beverages (juices and sodas) should be limited.
Seasonal Allergies Cross React with Food Allergies!
People with pollen allergies may experience a rapid onset of itching or swelling in the lips, tongue, throat and palate within moments of eating fresh fruits or vegetables. Adults experience this oral allergy syndrome (OAS) more frequently than children. Symptoms vary individually and usually are not life threatening, but can precede anaphylactic reactions.
Registered Dietitians recommend trying the cooked fruit or vegetable, as it is usually tolerated. The response is believed to be a cross – reaction between common pollen allergens and fresh fruits and vegetables. Patients with birch pollinosis may experience symptoms with apples, carrots, celery, potatoes, and hazlenuts; ragweed pollinosis with melons and bananas; and Brazil nut allergy with cherry, apricot, plum, and peach.
Cross – reactivity between latex and one or more foods is also common. Latex allergy may develop before food allergy or vice versa. Sometimes a food allergy appears probable when actually latex has contaminated the food. Parts of sandwiches eaten by latex – sensitive patients were found to contain latex protein, probably from the food handler using latex gloves. The most frequent related latex – fruit dual allergies are banana, avocado, chestnuts and kiwi.
Multi – vitamin to Ensure Nutritional Needs are Met
Children and adults with food allergies are encouraged to take a multivitamin to ensure all vitamin and mineral needs are met daily on restricted diets. FREEDA VITAMINS are all 100% Gluten – free, Kosher, vegetarian and will meet all needs young and old.
Vitamins A, C and E are particularly notable for their role in optimum skin care. Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy, and aids in iron absorption. Vitamin E helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.
Adequate Exercise and Sleep
Exercise and adequate sleep are also vital in promoting sound nutrition and skin complexion. Losing sleep affects: restorative functions such as tissue repair and growth; blood pressure; nervous system; stress hormone production; and production of hormones that fuel the immune system. Strengthen your immune system and muscles today!
The only way to avoid an allergic reaction and improve skin integrity is to avoid the foods that cause signs and symptoms. Children often outgrow food allergies, especially to milk and soy. They are less likely to outgrow an allergy to peanuts, fish or shrimp. Food allergies and related skin conditions can be improved with nutrition. To help meet you or your loved one’s nutritional needs, schedule an appointment with a Registered Dietitian today.