Growing up with a severe food allergy is, frankly, the worst. You miss out on a lot of birthday cake, a decent portion of Halloween, and you can't go to a restaurant without contemplating your own mortality.
Peanut allergies are a growing health issue in the United States. Indeed, they are becoming increasingly severe and they have no treatment or cure. Peanut allergies, specifically, tend to develop in childhood and persist in the adult years.
As of 2010, approximately 2% of U.S. children had a peanut allergy — over four times the estimate in 1999.
However, new research has found a preventative measure: the best method to stop a lifelong peanut allergy in children is to feed babies peanut products.
Undoubtedly, this advice will leave peanut allergy-afflicted individuals feeling skeptical, but the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a branch of the National Institue of Health, released new care guidelines last week.
So, new parents and parents-to-be, listen up: introducing peanut to infants' diets is VERY likely to prevent future allergies.
It's hard to argue with science.
A trial involving over 600 infants found that regular peanut consumption until the age of five reduced likelihood of an allergy to the legume by 81%.
Interestingly, this new finding is at odds with previous conventional wisdom about allergy prevention.
According to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, forbidding peanut consumption to decrease allergy risk "counter-intuitively works against the child."
Once care providers and parents start following these guidelines, we may see a drastic improvement in the U.S.
"We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States," Fauci said.
...Most importantly, one day there will be Reese's Cups for all!