Nourishing Your Baby With Allergy Healing Foods
It seems that the presence of allergies among younger generations is increasing with each generation. The allergy lifestyle seems to be becoming a regular norm for new parents. It’s stressful, however, constantly researching your baby’s food ingredients to make sure there is no presence of any allergens. Perhaps you have considered making your own natural baby food at home to save stress and money.
At-own baby food makers are becoming very popular in homes all around the world. You can quickly put fresh fruits and vegetables in these specialized blenders to make the perfect little meal for your cutie. These blenders make it quick and easy to make your own baby food, but they are not needed. You could simply mash fresh ingredients together to accomplish the same thing.
Here are some of the best hypoallergenic or allergy-friendly ingredients that you should consider if you want to make your own natural baby food recipe at home.
Cantaloupe for much-needed vitamin A and Electrolytes
Cantaloupe melons contain 120% of the recommended dosage of vitamin A (that’s a lot!). Vitamin A is the key to a strong, tough immune system. Vitamin A also supports cell growth in addition to aiding in immune responses. It plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, kidneys, lungs, and several other major organs.
For women who have a vitamin A deficiency and are opting to breastfeed, cantaloupe can provide a sufficient supplement of the vitamin for the infant. If a person, regardless of age, is deficient in vitamin A, then the body will produce a T cell known as TH17, which is a pro-inflammatory – not good. Since the human body does not synthesize vitamin A on its own, it’s crucial that both you, as well as your infant, obtain it through diet.
Remember, it is important to be sure certain that the size of the cantaloupe is appropriate given the growth development of your child. Cantaloupe can be pureed for infants who have not yet advanced onto solid food.
Word to the wise: I would not recommend freezing pureed cantaloupe. This will produce a bad tasting result that is gritty and, frankly, pretty unpleasant. Instead, freeze cantaloupe into large chunks, thaw, and then puree (or eat it fresh).
Pineapple for antioxidants, minerals and enzymes
Pineapples are a phenomenal source of vitamin C, manganese, bromelain, and other antioxidants – and for those reasons, they make formidable treats for the entire family – even your infants.
Vitamin C, which we all know is an antioxidant, is extremely abundant in pineapples. Just like its cousin, vitamin A, humans are not able to synthesize vitamin C ourselves, so it must therefore be obtained through our diet. Vitamin C is absolutely crucial to a well-functioning immune system. It assists in producing collagen, which is used to build connective tissue; preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer, and it also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Manganese is an extremely important enzyme to the human diet, and that includes during development phases of infants and children. Trivial amounts can be found within the human body, however, it is required that we obtain more through our diet. Manganese is a very powerful antioxidant that neutralizes those free radicals I mentioned earlier. As well, manganese does a wonderful job at increasing superoxide dismutase, an even more powerful enzyme/antioxidant. This great little enzyme reduces inflammation decisively; in fact, it is sometimes advised by medical professionals that older adults with arthritis take a supplement of superoxide dismutase.
Bromelain – an enzyme found in the juice and core of a pineapple that also has significant anti-inflammatory effects. Bromelain has been proven to reduce swelling, rhinitis, as well as a slew of other inflammatory symptoms. It also promotes the absorption of antibiotics, prevents fluid accumulation in the lungs (which could lead to pneumonia), as well as helping the body reduce body fat percentage. To extract and maximize the most bromelain from your pineapple, skin your pineapple, discard of the rind and the leaves. Remove any excess from the sides so that you’re left with a block/cylinder of yellow flesh. Don’t forget to save the core! The core is a hotspot for bromelain. Once you’ve done this, place the entire thing in the blender and – BAM, you’ve got yourself a pleasant, bromelain-vitamin C-manganese-rich pineapple drink that you’ll enjoy just as much as your child will.
Read more about how digestive enzymes can help with allergies here.
Quercetin-Containing Foods for Seasonal Allergy Babies
Seasonal allergies can be a nightmare for parents who have allergic children, but the situation is probably much worse for the little one. Allergy prevalence has been increasing every year, with magnified severity for all allergy sufferers. The only thing worse than dealing with seasonal allergies yourself is your infant having to deal with them! Well, breathe easily – there’s a plethora of different foods you can feed to your infant that will combat, or even prevent, seasonal and food allergies. Try some of these yourself, while you’re at it – you might just find that they work for you.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that can be found naturally in various plants, including their fruits. It is ubiquitous with an optimal human diet, and it has antioxidant properties. Quercetin is renowned for its antihistamine effects, as well as its rich vitamin C content. In addition to that, quercetin has been linked to regressive rates in cancer as well as cardiovascular disease, which is, by far, the № 1 cause of death in the United States. As well, it’s been known to possess antioxidant benefits, which help your body naturally combat the rigors of everyday life, which include: fatigue, nausea, and the consumption of toxic substances.
Quercetin has been known to:
- relieve seasonal and food allergy symptoms;
- improve alertness and cognition;
- promote focus and positive attitude;
- promote function of the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems;
- promote circulation;
- provide natural energy boosts
One of the Most Effective Natural Antihistamine Foods
Without the presence of quercetin, cells in our body can become free radicals. Free radicals occur when the atoms that make up the cells possess an odd number of electrons. In chemistry, once a molecule becomes a free radical, it becomes highly volatile and rather short-lived. This can destabilize the surrounding atoms, then eventually after spreading from molecule to molecule, the entire cell will become destabilized.
Now, imagine this happening in your own body. It could lead to inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disease, or even cancer. That is why it is extremely important to balance the free radical cells with quercetin for optimal physiological function. If there is a higher ratio of free radicals to antioxidants present, then the free radical cells have the ability to negatively impact cell membranes, or even DNA – a mutation of DNA that gets out of hand is literally cancer. In 2012, researchers at the Korea Cancer Center Hospital in Seoul, South Korea conducted a study on children on the effects of quercetin. Participants who received quercetin experienced drastically reduced effects of seasonal allergies after consuming foods rich in antioxidants. To add to that, the children who saw these benefits saw them for months afterwards.
- red grapes,
- and broccoli
These are all quite rich with quercetin. Capers and onions are particularly rich in quercetin as well, but your infant probably won’t be very fond of such intense flavors, so you might just want to enjoy the onions and capers yourself. Of course, it is recommended that you use your discretion when feeding your infant any new foods. If you’re ever in doubt of anything, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.
You can read more about quercetin supplements here.
Hypoallergenic Baby Formula
Hypoallergenic formula, also known as hydrolysate formula, actually contains both milk and soy proteins – but their proteins have been manually broken into even smaller proteins, so small that they will not elicit an allergic reaction. This type of formula is becoming widely popular among health conscious parents, even among those whose children are not necessarily sensitive to dairy or soy.
In that respect, hypoallergenic formulas are a great solution for children who are, in fact, sensitive/allergic to both dairy and soy products. Hypoallergenic formula does tend to run a bit more expensive than conventional baby formulas, especially if you opt for organic – but you can’t put a price on the well-being of your child, especially if it’s to avoid ravenous allergy symptoms!
The Big 8: Most Common Potential Allergens in Babies
The Big 8 – a composite of eight different food items/groups that elicit 90% of all food allergies! The Big 8 is composed of:
- tree nuts,
- and soy.
Unfortunately, modern medicine has not given us a cure for food allergies yet; however, we can still take precautions to build an immunity and hopefully alleviate any potential symptoms. We’ll walk through each of the Big 8 and discuss each of their individual characteristics:
i) Dairy allergies
– A little bit of dairy is okay, for example in a baked dish, or even as a base for farina (we’ll get to wheat momentarily). It is, however, not recommended to give cow’s milk as a beverage until the child reaches at least 12 months of age. This is not because cow’s milk is detrimental in itself, but it does lack iron, which all infants (and adults) need to function. A better option would be to use formula or breastfeed the child, then serve the milk in some other way, like in farina. This is so that the infant has a lower chance of developing anemia.
ii) Egg allergy
– If concerned about egg allergy, experts recommend a plain cooked egg when introducing the child to eggs, as opposed to a baked egg (i.e. eggs present in pancakes, &c). The protein in the egg remains more intact when it is simply cooked on the stove. However, that does not disqualify the nutritional benefits from baked eggs! A meal with a baked egg is most certainly not a poor decision at all – it will simply expose the child to “less” egg at a time.
iii) Fish allergy
– When potentially intolerant to fish, there are quite a few ways to introduce fish and other seafood to your infant’s palate. A popular method is by pureeing your choice of white fish, or salmon, after it has already been cooked. For added benefit, feel free to add a small amount of breast milk or baby formula to the mixture. Pureeing is not always necessary, though. Thankfully, fish of any type makes a great table food for infants who are at least 8 months of age. Be sure that you do not use honey on any seafood that you give to your infants. Infants are susceptible to botulism due to spores that could be found in honey.
iv) Shellfish allergy
– Shellfish can become a healthy, enjoyable part of any infant’s diet. (My dinner of choice as a young child was linguine and clam sauce; don’t knock it till you try it). Once your child has advanced to solid food, you may then gradually begin to introduce shellfish into the child’s diet. Clams, as well as shrimp, can be purchased without the shell, or even pre-cooked; therefore avoiding risk of injury/choking on shells, and also saving you, the parent, a little bit of time and effort.
Please be aware that if your child has an adverse food reaction before, or if they suffer from eczema, you need to check in with the pediatrician before exposing them to shellfish.
v) Tree Nut Allergy
– When introducing tree nuts, this is where we find our hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, &c. Tree nuts are actually quite simple to introduce into an infant’s diet, despite the fact that they are typically hard and dense, which obviously creates a potential choking hazard. When grated into a powder, however, they can be given to the child without them even noticing (other than the taste, of course). One commenter suggested homemade pancakes with syrup (to soften the pancake), topped with a small amount of grated hazelnut for added flavor. This method is optimal for an infant who is seven to ten months old.
– The natural enemy of elementary school classrooms. For children who suffer from peanut allergies, a peanut could literally mean life or death. Such fierce allergies are typically known beforehand by an allergy test, which can be requested to your pediatrician. Like most other items on this list, there are dozens of ways to introduce your child to peanuts. Infants between the ages of ten months to a year old can typically handle a thin layer of creamy peanut butter (NOT crunchy – choking hazard!) spread on a piece of toast. If solid food is not yet an option, then powdered peanut butter can be added to yogurt and then spoon-fed to the child. Note that powdered peanut butter does contain some sugar, however, it contains far less than your average fruit-flavored baby yogurt.
vii) Wheat allergy
– Wheat is one of those things that’s really difficult to avoid, especially if you’re shopping at any old neighborhood supermarket. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, choosing food items at restaurants and at the grocery store is akin to playing a biological obstacle course. Fortunately though, infants can be introduced to wheat at about six months old. Your goal in introducing the child to wheat at this age is to build a gluten tolerance, especially if the baby’s family has any record of type 1 diabetes or celiac disease.
– When testing for soy intolerance, granted, some baby formulas are soy-based – but if the infant has never consumed soy products, then children can experience their first solid soy products, such as tofu and tempeh, around 6 months of age. Both tofu and tempeh are ideal for infants because they are solid yet soft, and they demand minimal effort to chew. They are both also fantastic sources of protein, so, win-win!
After introducing your child to tofu, or any soy product, the best rule of thumb is to exercise the 4 Day Wait Rule, and monitor your child’s reactions (or lack thereof) in order to determine whether or not they might have a food allergy. Some common, identifiable side effects of soy allergies in infants include, but are not limited to: vomiting, wheezing, anaphylaxis, allergic rhinitis, or gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea.