What is the link between eating cheese and allergies?

A recent study showed that there is a link between the consumption of cheese during childhood and the risk of developing allergies when growing up. This study was conducted on 931 children during the first 6 years of their lives by the CHU de Besançon in association with INRA.

This study, started in 2002, not only demonstrates the importance of a well-balanced and varied diet for a baby, but also how it impacts its future health and the effectiveness of its immune system. It also shows how the introduction of different cheeses into a baby’s diet between the ages of 12-18 months can positively affect it; an age in which diet diversification is normally well advanced (fresh cheese can be introduced at 6 months). However, it is recommended to only introduce strong tasting, hard cheeses from 18 months onwards.

Without making your baby eat Pule (the most expensive cheese in the world made, from donkey milk), it is, according to this research, a good idea to offer your baby different kinds of cheese over this period. In the study, children aged between 12-18 months were given pressed, semi-pressed, soft, blue, fresh and farm cheese. When reassessed at the age of 6, these same children showed a reduction in the risk of eczema, allergic rhinitis, asthma and allergen sensitisation.

This is due to the fact that the bacteria found in cheese positively modifies our gut microbiota which in turn, reinforces our immune system. This is an important fact and research needs to continue: as the number of French people suffering from allergies continues to increase, it is essential to understand their causes and find solutions. We can therefore safely conclude that the risk of developing allergies is, in part, related to a child’s diet in the early stages of its life.

Hence the importance of careful dietary diversification: to offer samples and where possible introduce variants of each food to your baby giving your baby new nutritional contributions, and, as this study shows, reducing the risk of developing allergies in later life.

If you are a young mother or a young dad and are also concerned about food balance, we can make it easier by offering menus that are adapted to you. This way, you’ll have more time to devote to your baby’s health while also taking care of yourself!

Study cited: The protective effect of cheese consumption at 18 months on allergic diseases during the first 6 years. Nicklaus S, Divaret-Chauveau A, Chardon ML & Al .; Pasture Study Group. Allergy. 2018 Oct 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.13650

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