Apricot is an important and nutritious fruit which can be added to your baby’s food. Apricot offers various health benefits for toddlers such as aid in digestion, supply of essential vitamins and minerals, acts as a natural laxative, aid in brain development and the oil from apricot is useful in protecting sensitive and soft skin.
This fruit is thought to have originated in China, but became very popular in Armenia. From here on Apricot was introduced in Europe. Hence, Europeans believed that apricot originated in Armenia and named it as Prunus Armeniaca. The cultivation of apricot is higher in west Asia more than anywhere else. Turkey is the highest producer of apricot in the world.
Apricot has been consumed by humans for many centuries now. Ancient people believed that apricot in imparting strength and vitality to individuals who’ve eaten it. Greeks regarded apricot to possess medicinal qualities. Romans revered this fruit and dedicated it to Venus, the goddess of love. Even the Chinese used most parts of apricot tree including the fruit in medicines for various ailments. They believed that it promotes longer life.
Can apricot be introduced as baby food?
Of course, apricot provides us with many health benefits. But, does apricot provide same level of benefits to children as well. Let’s examine.
Nutritional value of Apricot for babies
According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, from the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA, every 100 g of apricot contains
|Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g||Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g|
|Water||86 g||Thiamin||0.030 mg|
|Energy||48 kcal||Riboflavin||0.040 mg|
|Protein||1.4 g||Niacin||0.600 mg|
|Fat||0.39 g||Vitamin B-6||0.054 mg|
|Carbohydrates||11 g||Folate||9 ug|
|Sugars||9 g||Vitamin A||96 ug|
|Dietary fiber||2 g||Vitamin E||0.89 mg|
|Calcium||13 mg||Vitamin K||3.3 ug|
|Vitamin C||10 mg|
At what age can apricot be introduced to an infant?
Apricot can be introduced along with other fruits and vegetables to the diet of your child, one he or she is 6 months old. By this time, their digestive activity would have improved to an extent that they can digest semi solid foods. Ask your paediatrician before introducing solid food to your child, to be on safe side.
Benefits of adding apricot to your baby’s diet
Apricots have been eaten since the dawn of humanity and till now they are being consumed.
• Nutrient rich food: Fruits and vegetables are packed with micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are needed for your child’s physical as well as mental development. Beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C and iron are found in higher amounts in apricot. These are essential for toddlers and children as beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A which is good for eye sight. (Plant, Tidey, Eating for Better Health).
• High iron content: Apricot is known for its high iron content. Iron is an important element which is found in our blood and builds up the haemoglobin molecule. As we know, haemoglobin is responsible for capturing oxygen and supplying it to each and every cell in our body. Lack of iron in your child’s food can lead to anemia. As a result, the blood count in the child would lower. Apart from iron, apricot also contains small amount of copper. Copper is also essential in iron absorption in the body. (Pediatrics.About.com).
• Brain Development: Apart from body development, a baby’s health is considered complete, when the brain is also fully developed. A child’s brain also needs essential nutrients. As apricot has high magnesium and potassium which are highly essential for brain development and protection. (MedHelp.org, LiveStrong.com).
• Aids in digestion: Indigestion is more common in babies and toddlers and the reasons behind it are many. Some of them include overplaying, overexcitement, lack of afternoon naps, overfeeding, etc and many more. Babies with indigestion can be given fruit juices. Apricot can be a choice. As fruit juices are easy to digest, they could be given. (Raw Food Explained).
• Intestinal worms: Intestinal worms are parasites which mostly reside in the small intestine and feed on the nutrients of the digested food. In many cases, children are most affected. Apricots juice can be given to your toddler suffering with intestinal worms. (Okoye, How I Got My Life Back: From Granddad’s Herbs and Food Medicine Lessons).
• Constipation: Constipation is one issue that even babies can face. Medical experts define constipation in babies as passing hard stools and the difficulty in passing it. When introducing solid foods, we must make sure that babies eat such foods which have high dietary fiber content. Apricot is one such fruit with high dietary fiber. It acts as a natural and gentle laxative, adding bulk to the baby’s stool which passes through easily. (HK Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
• Apricot oil for skin: The oil extracted from apricot is also useful in many ways. One of the major applications is on the skin of adults as well as babies. Apricot oil is rich in oleic acid and vitamin E and hence, it is good the skin. The oil is best suited for sensitive and soft skin of babies. (Manfred Urs Koch, Laugh with Health).
Protective measures to be taken while introducing apricot fruit
Though, introducing apricot in toddler food has its benefits, there are certain risks associated with it. These risks can be avoided if proper protective measures are taken in the first place.
- Ripen apricot: It is highly advised to feed only properly ripen apricot. Unripe or bitter apricot has a chemical component named amygdalin which is converted into toxic hydrocyanic acid.
- Give gaps between introducing new foods: It is very important to wait for at least 4 days before introducing new food to babies. This has its importance because, during the 4 way wait, you can notice reactions on the baby’s body and also it can help in eliminating those foods which can cause reactions in the baby.
- Consult your paediatrician before hand: Consulting your paediatrician before hand is better as they can give optimum advice about allergic reactions than anyone else.
- Wash and clean the fruits: Washing and cleaning the fruits is very important because, fruits might contain pesticide residue. You don’t want your child to swallow any amount of pesticide residue, right?
- Freezing and unfreezing: Another important tip related to storage. Whenever you feed your baby with fruits which have been stored in your refrigerator, make sure that the fruits are at room temperature or warmer. As we all know, babies cannot tolerate variations in temperature.