Happy weekend guys! Isn't it awesome to see a bit of sunshine this week?
In our household, we've got a new slow cooker, thanks to my lovely friend Fleur. I destroyed our old slow cooker by pouring boiling water into the cold container (doh!) and the ceramic bowl cracked. The new slow cooker is happily bubbling away as I write with a fresh batch of chicken broth.
This week I thought I'd write about something I've been digging around online about for quite some time - will children of allergic parents also have food allergies? And more personally, will my coeliac powers result in a coeliac baby?
Allergies are caused by the immune system responding to something that it incorrectly perceives to be a threat. For people with food allergies, this could include any range of delicious foods e.g. dairy, wheat, soy ... Many of you will have seen the results of these allergies - wheezing, sneezing, diarrhea, anaphylaxis and more.
Coeliac disease, as I've mentioned before is not a food allergy, it's an auto-immune disease. So it does differ somewhat - you can read more about that here. Like food allergies however, coeliac disease is a complicated beast, and scientists are still developing their understanding of the causes and effects.
So what do we know now about allergies and coeliac disesase? and will your children struggle with allergies if you do? ... read on to find out more!
What are the underlying causes of food allergies? Is it genetics, environmental factors, or have we all spent way too much time being super-cleaned by anti-bacterial soap as children?
The current scientific theory is that it's a combination of factors. Although some recent research by John Hopkins suggests a pretty strong gene influence.
Some of the environmental factors that have been suggested as possible triggers include: glandular fever, infections, high stress suffered over an extended period of time, food poisoning, gut damage and chemical exposure.
Which leads us to the big question: Will my children have food allergies, 'cos I sure as heck do?!
For a start, even if you have a dodgey gene, it doesn't mean you'll pass it on. Remember that your genes are only half of the genes that your child will inherit.
AND, just because you have a gene, doesn't mean the gene will necessarily activate.
However, it's an annoying fact, that children whose parents have food allergies, are at more risk of having food allergies themselves (and it's the same story with children of coeliacs).
What can I do to prevent food allergies in my children?
This is an area where there is a bucketload of debate. Recent research suggests that there's not a lot that you can do to prevent food allergies, because genes are mighty fierce.
The only two things that everyone seems to agree could help reduce the incidence of food allergies is not smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding your babies (if you can).
However, if your child is at risk of coeliac disease (due to one of the parents having coeliac disease), it would be advisable not to introduce gluten too early, not to prevent coeliac disease, but to at least delay onset.
Can I heal my child's food allergies?
Some children grow out of their food allergies, and others don't (sigh!).
There's a real movement in natural health circles towards healing food allergies by focusing on healing the gut. This gut healing takes the form of improving nutrition, introducing probiotics and removing gluten, dairy, grains and other reactive foods from the diet. You can read more about that here (or just use the google machine).
Please note: You cannot heal coeliac disease.
This is a life-long condition, that once triggered cannot be reversed. However, it's possible to lead a healthy and happy life on a gluten-free diet.
I hope that was a help to some of you!
* Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, please talk to a medical professional before changing your diet.