How early is too early to introduce peanuts to your kids?

How early is too early to introduce peanuts to your kids?
Dr. Jose M. Theckedath, MD believes all parents should always go to an allergist for help. (Source: WALB)
The National Peanut Board says infants can consume peanuts starting at four months. (Source:WALB)
The National Peanut Board says infants can consume peanuts starting at four months. (Source:WALB)
National Peanut Board nutritionist Sherry Coleman Collins (Source: Sherry Coleman Collins)
National Peanut Board nutritionist Sherry Coleman Collins (Source: Sherry Coleman Collins)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Peanuts are a food staple we all love to enjoy and it is full of nutrients, protein and fiber.

But for some people, consuming a peanut can cause a serious reaction.

The National Peanut Board says infants can start consuming peanuts either in peanut butter or peanut powder with breast milk as early as four months old.

With research to back it up, people that were introduced to peanuts at an early age didn't develop peanut allergies later on in life.

National Peanut Board's registered dietitian, Sherry Coleman Collins, said they tested children that ate peanuts at a young age and they had a lower risk of being allergic.

"To see if they were allergic to peanuts. These kids were already at high risk for developing peanut allergies because they had severe eczema or they already developed an egg allergy and what they found was up to an 80 percent reduction in the development of peanut allergies in kids who started to eat peanuts early," said Collins.

For many parents, it may still be a scary decision if they should let their child consume peanuts and local peanut farmers agree.

"It's important to us, as we are all consumers, not just a farmer. We consume peanuts too. Peanuts being high in protein, amino acids, and all the vitamins and minerals that are in peanuts. That it's a very healthy product. Matter of fact, we like to see children eat peanut butter, a peanut butter sandwich or something after school as snacks and things because it's better than something with sugars," said Chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission Armond Morris.

If you are still not sure if your child should consume peanuts, it is always best to talk to a pediatrician. Especially if your child already has severe eczema or an egg allergy, because they may also have a peanut allergy.

If your child has developed a peanut allergy, the good news is that it could easily be reversed if you see your local allergist.

"Allergist will decide whether they can start giving the patient peanut if the level is as I told you in the mild variety they try the peanut at the office or they can advise the parents to give it in their own home," said Allergy Immunology Center's Dr. Jose M. Theckedath, MD.

Overall, the best way to avoid allergies is early food introduction in their baby food and slowly add allergic foods like peanuts, dairy, or eggs.

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