When should I start feeding my baby solids?
Is there anything I can do to prevent them developing allergies?
The answers to these questions were discussed last week in Melbourne at The Centre for Food and Allergy Research summit. The consensus is clear: Start around 6 months, but not before 4. All infants, including those at high risk of allergy, should be given allergenic solid foods including peanut butter, cooked egg, dairy and wheat products in the first year of life.
In the past, the recommendation in Australia, Europe and the US has been to delay these forms of solids until after the age of 1 or even 2.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute paediatric gastroenterologist and allergist Professor Katie Allen told the summit: “We used to tell people to avoid peanut, eggs and cow’s milk, and now we’re saying introduction is safe and maybe even be protective.
"People are not introducing the allergenic solids in a timely manner... and that may be increasing and driving the rates of allergy in our community.''
There is no evidence that breastfeeding or hydrolysed milk formula are preventative against allergies. However, Prof Allen said that starting solids is unlikely to interfer with breastfeeding. She said: 'We do believe breastfeeding is best for a baby's healthy start to life, not just for bonding with the mother but IQ and infectious disease rates, so breast is definitely the best way to go.'
Australians are getting behind their farmers in buying branded milk over supermarket brands to help Australian dairy farmers keep from going out of business. The milk rush comes after The Project‘s co-hostWaleed Aly this week begged Australians to eat more cheese and support local dairy farmers.
Pretty much all brands of milk will support farmers, as even if the company is foreign (Anchor and Mainland are NZ-owned, Great Ocean Road is Canadian and Pauls is Italian) as the milk is still being supplied by Aussie farmers. Scroll to the end of this post for a list of milk brands you can buy to help our farmers.
And there is good reason to have more dairy if you aren't lactose intolerant. A new study finds the dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against Type 2 diabetes, reported NPR.
"People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes" compared with people who consumed the least dairy fat, says Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who is also an author of the study.
The research, published in the journal Circulation, included 3,333 adults. Beginning in the late 1980s, researchers took blood samples from the participants and measured circulating levels of biomarkers of dairy fat in their blood for over the next two decades.
"For a long time we've had this notion that saturated fat [the kind found in dairy products] is always bad for you," says Mark DeBoer, a pediatrician at the University of Virginia. But this assumption is being questioned.
DeBoer has studied the connection between dairy fat and children's body weight and found that children who have a higher intake of whole milk or 2 percent milk gain less weight over time, compared with kids who consume skim or nonfat dairy products.
And there's some evidence that dairy fat may help adults manage weight as well. Researchers in Sweden found that middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.
It's possible that "the fat in dairy makes you less hungry to eat some other foods," says DeBoer.
And there's evidence that "when people consume more low-fat dairy, they eat more carbohydrates" as a way of compensating, says Mozaffarian. Many high-carb foods such as cereals, breads and snacks that contain highly refined grains are less satiating and can prompt people to eat more calories. Check out a previous blog post which supports this idea.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) was a positive psychologist and one of the fathers of modern psychotherapy. A former student of Sigmund Freud, he saw an chance to expand one’s consciousness in virtually any manifestation of neurosis or depression.
Bright Side has 20 of insightful quotes from Dr Jung, which one do you like best? My favourite is #2. Be sure to leave us a comment!
We've got just over a week before we send your donated nappies off to mothers in need, so keep bringing them in!
Scientists in Ireland have discovered a connection between the mix of microbes in our gut and how our nerves work. The microbes are able to influence the production of myelin, a layer that protects the nerves and speeds transmission. In Multiple Sclerosis (MS). there is loss of this myelin which affects muscle and nerve functioning.
There is more than a kilogram of bacteria and other micro-organisms living in our gut and collectively they are referred to as the microbiome. In the last few years, scientists have found that this microbiome influences our immune system, obesity, bowel disorders and mental health.
We should not be surprised by this, given bacteria inhabited the Earth long before humans, said Prof John Cryan, who led this most recent study.
“The bacteria were there first in term of evolution. We have co-evolved with them and the brain evolved in this environment. Our brains have developed with signals from the microbes all the time.”
In this case they used a “germ free” mouse, studying the mix of genes being expressed, and found there was a lot of activity from myelin-related genes. However, when these mice were given a normal microbiome the myelin genes reduced their activity, but if the germ free status was returned myelin production increased again.
“We believe we demonstrate for the first time that the microbiome is necessary for appropriate and dynamic regulation of myelin-related genes,” Prof Cryan said.
For more about MS, head to the MS Australia website.
It is well known that an unhappy childhood can lead to mental health issues in later life. What's becoming clear to researchers now is that chronic stress and anxiety during childhood can trigger dramatic changes in the body, which contribute to our risk of developing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke, reported the BBC Radio 4.
Chronic stress in childhood is also associated with a shortened life span, through its impact on the developing brain and the immune system. Health-harming behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use, are also more common among those who have endured traumatic experiences in childhood.
However, while we can't change the past, we can change our response to it.
Mindfulness therapy works as well as some anti-depressant drugs with no harmful side effects, according to The Independent. People suffering from depression who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) were 31 per cent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks, the researchers reported in a paper in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Professor Willem Kuyken, the lead author of the paper, said: “This new evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy … is very heartening. While MBCT is not a panacea, it does clearly offer those with a substantial history of depression a new approach to learning skills to stay well in the long-term."
“It’s a sort of mental training. It’s about training the mind so people can see negative thoughts, negative feelings, the early signs of a depressive relapse, and learn the skills to respond to those in a way that makes them more resilient.”
But Professor Kuyken, an Oxford University clinical psychologist and director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, also stressed that different people required different treatments and mindfulness should be viewed as one option alongside drugs and other forms of therapy.
All entries complied by osteopath Dr Wei Chua unless otherwise stated.