Soya, Edamame, Natto, Okara, Soja, Tempeh, Yuba and Glycine max – these are all different names for soybean!
Part of the legume family, soybeans are rich in protein and an excellent source of all the essential acids, so they are great aids to good health…unless they cause an allergic reaction!
Scientists have found at least 15 allergenic proteins in soy, and allergies are quite common – particularly in babies. Some babies’ bodies react to a harmless substance as if it is harmful, and this can happen with soy. Soy allergy can be diagnosed at around 3 months of age, and often occurs in babies who are also allergic to cow’s milk.
The risk of soy allergy can possibly be higher if soy is introduced before 6 months, so delaying the introduction of soy into a baby’s diet until at least 8 months – or even a year old – is the choice of many parents.
Your baby may also have a higher risk of soy allergy if:
- He or she is already diagnosed with asthma, rhinitis or eczema
- He or she is allergic to another food
- There is a family history of soy or peanut allergy
- There is a family history of asthma, rhinitis or eczema
Talk to your doctor if your baby has eaten a soy food and has:
- Diarrhoea, vomiting, or reflux
- Asthmatic breathing problems
- Colic-like tummy problems
- Rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, puffy or runny eyes)
- Itchy skin rash or dermatitis
- General irritability
Some soy products – such as soybean oil – do not contain protein, so may not cause a reaction, but to be certain it is wise to make your own baby food. And always make sure that anyone else who cares for your baby is fully aware and knows what foods may contain soy. When you are shopping for commercially made products, check the ingredients carefully, as many use soy or soy derivatives.
Here are some:
- Cooking spray, vegetable oils and dressings
- Gravies and sauces
- Cereals, crackers, chips (crisps)
- Frozen desserts and puddings
- Baked items and baking mixes
- Soups, spreads, and dips
- Canned tuna
You also need to check labels carefully for other ingredients derived from soy:
- Vegetable protein (may be called soy protein)
- Vitamin E
- Natural flavours – can include soy
- Tofu, miso and natto (a fermented food from soybeans)
- HVP – Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein
- TSF – Textured Soy Flour
- MSG – Monosodium Glutamate
- TSP – Textured Soy Protein
The GOOD NEWS is that most babies grow out of a soy allergy by the time they are 2 years old! You can be referred to an allergist, who will test your baby to give you the ALL CLEAR.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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