“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Most of us have heard this proverb during our childhood and as we’ve grown older, we have become oblivious to it. Whoever said it has said it rightly. Medical research in the recent times says that apple is one of the ideal fruits which can improve our health.
Apples have been consumed for thousands of years now. Apples believed to have originated in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Historically, consumption of apple has been observed in Egypt, Babylon and China. The mention of apple can be found in many of cultures. Bible has several instances of apple being mentioned. Scandinavians regarded apple as the “food of Gods”. Even now, apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world. There are about 7500 varieties of apples cultivated and every year, thousands of tonnes of apples
are produced all over the world. China tops the production list with 35 metric tonnes of apples produced per year.
Apples as baby food
Apples are no doubt good for us. But, what about babies? Can apples be introduced in babies’ diet? Yes, they can be introduced into baby food. Fruits such as apples can be introduced as baby food once, the baby is six months old.
Read More: Simple Homemade Apple Puree for Infants
Health Benefits of Apples
Here, we put forward the benefits of apple. Apples contain a plethora of phytochemicals called flavonoids. These flavonoids have a major role as antioxidants. The health benefits of these antioxidants include
Cure stomach disorders
Mothers would have definitely noticed that their babies suffer from stomach disorders very often. In such cases, an apple can come in handy. Peeled, mashed and boiled apple can be given to the baby. Apple can control stomach disorders. The polyphenols in apple fruit reduce gastric injuries by forming a protective layer on the stomach lining. Try adding a teaspoonful of honey to the mashed up apple before serving it. (H K Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Constipation and Diarrhea
Constipation and diarrhea are other very disturbing diseases that babies contract. Apart from containing many nutrients, apples are also rich in dietary fiber which is also essential for smooth bowel movement. Feed them with mashed up and boiled apple. In some cases, constipation can result in diarrhea and vice versa. Turns out that constipation and diarrhea occur more or less in cycle one after another. In such cases, where the infant or the baby is suffering from diarrhea, feeding them with apple juice can also be beneficial because diarrhea can be dehydrating. Essential nutrients and the moisture content in the juice can rejuvenate your baby in no time. For diarrhea, use apple juice as secondary medicine but not as primary medicine. Consult your pediatrician immediately. (Children and Their Families: The Continuum of Care).
Read more: 15 Foods that Relieve Infant Constipation
Dysentery is another disease which is found more often in infants and children than in adults. Dysentery results from an infection to the large intestine which leads to pain in the abdomen followed by passage of liquid stools. Dysentery is generally caused by bacterial, protozoan or viral infections. In such cases, ripe and sweet apple can be given as a treatment even in acute and chronic dysentery. Steam, boil and mash ripe apples and give them to your baby several times a day. This treatment has also been advocated by the American Medical Association. (H K Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Infants or babies with cough might not be able to get good night’s sleep. Sweet apples are effective in reducing cough. Prepare juice of boiled or steamed apple and give it your child for about a week. Before giving this juice, make sure that your baby is at least 6 months old. (Pediatric Telephone Advice).
As such this benefit may not be useful for infants who are below the age of 1 year, but, it is useful for children above the age of 1.5 years as tooth development begins during 1 and 1.5 years. Make sure to give your children, slices of apple after their meals every night. Chewing apple not only promotes blood circulation in the gums, but the fiber also acts like tooth brush in cleaning the teeth and the gums. Mild acids present in apple also have an antimicrobial effect on the dental bacteria. Hence, introducing apples to toddlers is good for their dental care and development. (Lynn R. Marotz, Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child).
Read More: Health Benefits of Custard Apple for Babies
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Precautions while serving Apple to infants
There is no doubt that apples are highly nutritious and possess many health benefits. But, some things must be kept in mind while giving apple to your child.
- Make sure that your baby is at least 6 months old and is ready for solid foods. Being ready for solid foods is absolutely important because, now they would be matured enough to digest solid food.
- Ask your pediatrician beforehand while introducing solid foods and particular foods such as apples. Some children might possess food allergies which have to be confirmed first.
- Before feeding your baby with apple, make sure to check for allergy symptoms.
- After you make sure that your child is not allergic to apple, you can start feeding him or her with apples. Before beginning it, make sure to peel off apples. In several cases, apples are sprayed with harmful pesticides and insecticides.
- If you are still concerned about the safety of your child, then wash the apples in salt water 2 or 3 times and leave them in hot water which is hotter than coffee for 5 to 10 minutes. (Centre for Science and Environment)
- Make sure that do not feed your child with apples on empty stomach. Apples may be hard to digest early in the morning. (H K Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
- Buy Organic apples whenever possible: Buying organic apples can be a better choice when compared to buying conventionally grown apples. Apple is one of the very popular fruits, not only in the United States but also elsewhere. In the US alone, apples make a business of about 2.2 billion dollars. A sample survey has suggested that about 98% of the apples from conventional farming, had pesticides and chemicals sprayed on them. Another reason for buying organic apples is that compared to conventionally grown apples, organic apples taste better, smell better, have more flesh, are firmer and contain more flavonols. (Forbes, ISHS).
- Wash it thoroughly before serving: Rinsing fruits and vegetables under running tap water is known to most of us. This technique was tested at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The research points that washing fruits and vegetables under running water is effective and far more effective is rinsing and rubbing the produce in cleaning off any pesticide residue. It was also noted that detergents used for washing off pesticide residues did not result in the removal, compared to rinsing under running water.
- Peel the skin: In another study conducted in the UK showed that peeling of fruits and vegetables is effective in removing pesticide residue. As most of the pesticide residue is found on the surface of the fruits and vegetables, cleaning and peeling the outer layer has been noted to be effective in removing pesticide residue. (Daily Mail UK).
- Remove the seeds before serving as apple seeds contain cyanide and are poisonous. Eating enough seeds (in one case, one cup of apple seeds) can cause death
When can I give apple juice to my baby?
Apple juice, as a matter of fact, any fruit juice may contain a higher concentration sugars. When infants or toddlers drink more and more juices, there is a higher chance of developing dental caries or tooth decay. On the other hand, the most important thing to be considered is that when they drink more and more juices, their appetite slowly decreases, resulting in a disinterest for solid foods. This causes malnutrition.
According to UNICEF, Malnutrition is generally perceived to exist only in developing countries, but juice fed malnutrition is seen in well developed countries such as the United States in well to-do families.
Is it safe to give canned fruits and canned juices to babies?
Feeding your baby with canned food may not be a good idea. Studies now show that canned food which includes canned juice and canned fruits have higher concentration of lead. Another major point that was noted in the study was that, the lead concentration increased after the can was opened. After opening, the can was tested for lead concentrations initially, 2 days and 5 days later. The lead concentrations observed in the 5th day were highest compared to the initial findings and after 2 days of the can opening.
Read More: Delicious Homemade Apple Porridge Baby Food
Three ways of making Apple Puree for your baby
- Bake an apple by washing it, removing the core, wrapping it in aluminium foil and placing it in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees F, 180 deg C for around 45 minutes (or until tender). Then just puree or mash it, adding a little breast milk or formula if the texture is too thick.
- Steam cubes of apple until tender, then either mash or puree as above
- Simmer apple cubes in a VERY little water until tender, then either mash or puree as above
Read More: 5 Homemade Apple Puree Recipes for Infants!
Few Apple recipes for the ‘Apple of your eye’
Apple Recipe for 4-6month old
- Apple Punch
- Baked Apples for Baby
- Oats & Apple Cereal
- Basic applesauce
Apple Recipe for 6-9 month
- Apple Porridge
- Apple Vegetable soup
Apple Recipe for toddlers
- Apple Slices
- Apple custard
- Banana and apple bread pudding
- Apple walnut pancake,
- Apple Cinnamon Pancake