The health benefits of avocado for babies include supply of essential vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fats, easy to digest by babies, offers liver protection, offers antioxidants, can control inflammations, helps in healing wounds faster and has antimicrobial properties.
Avocado is a large pear shaped fruit which has a single large seed in the middle. The fruit has hard skin on the outside, but has soft and buttery flesh on the inside. Avocado ranges between colors of green, yellowish green, purple and maroon in color.[caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignnone" width="554"] Health Benefits of Avocado for Babies[/caption]
Avocado is a native to Mexico in central and south America. Europeans discovered this plant during the Spanish conquest of the Americas and introduced it to Europe and the rest of the world. In Europe, avocado is grown in the Mediterranean region and in tropical places around the world. The name Avocado comes from Spanish word “aguacate”.
Apart from the Americas and the Mediterranean, avocado is also grown in many parts of Asia such as Indonesia, Vietnam, South India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and in Australia and New Zealand as well. At present, Mexico is the highest producer of avocado in the world, followed by the United States, Spain, South Africa, Chile and Israel.
Nutrition found in Avocado
The nutrition found in avocado has been evaluated by the National Nutrition Database from the United States Department of Agriculture as follows
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||72.33 g||Energy||167 kcal|
|Protein||1.96 g||Total Lipid||15.41 g|
|Carbohydrate||8.64 g||Fiber||6.8 g|
|Sugars||0.3 g||Calcium||13 mg|
|Iron||0.61 mg||Magnesium||29 mg|
|Phosphorous||54 mg||Potassium||507 mg|
|Sodium||8 mg||Zinc||0.68 mg|
|Vitamin C||8.8 mg||Thiamin||0.075 mg|
|Niacin||1.91 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.28 mg|
|Folate||89 ug||Vitamin A||147 IU|
|Vitamin E||1.97 mg||Vitamin K||21 ug|
Is feeding avocado to babies recommended? If yes, at what age?
Avocado is one of the recommended fruits for your baby. Avocado is full of unsaturated fats. These fats are required by your baby for brain and vision development. Apart from these there are numerous benefits of introducing avocado to your baby. The right age to introduce avocados to your baby is between 6-8 months of age.
Health benefits of avocado to babies
Here are some of the health benefits of avocado for babies
Supplies essential vitamins and minerals: Avocado is an excellent fruit that it supplies essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B-6, niacin, thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium phosphorous, potassium, zinc and sodium. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the overall development of the baby.
Supplies essential unsaturated fats: Apart from being a good source of vitamins and minerals, avocado is also a good source of unsaturated fats. These fats are healthy for babies and they are needed for brain and vision development.
Easy on the digestive system: Besides supplying essential vitamins, minerals and fats, avocado is easy to digest, even by babies. They are also good in controlling the irritable stomach walls or an acidic stomach. Avocado juice is prescribed for colic and chills of stomach. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Liver protection: Avocado is also beneficial for liver. The fruit of avocado when given regularly to your child can protect it from liver damage that can be associated with diseases such as hepatitis and jaundice. But, when giving any solid food to your baby who’s suffering from hepatitis or jaundice can further aggravate the trouble. It is always preferable to feed or introduce solid foods after these diseases have subsided completely. (Yasir, et al, 2010).
Antioxidant properties: Antioxidants are another range of biochemicals that are of best for countering damage done by free radicals that are produced in the body during metabolism. These free radicals can cause damage to the tissue and cells by poorly interacting with them. On the other hand, antioxidants react with free radicals and neutralize them. (Yasir, et al, 2010).
Control of inflammation: Avocado is also helpful in controlling inflammations. Inflammations can occur as a result of tissue damage, pathogens and irritable stimuli. As the skin of babies is very soft and smooth, even a simple scratch can result in inflammation. Studies show that avocado can reduce inflammations to a great extent. (Yasir, et al, 2010).
Helps in healing wounds faster: Apart from controlling inflammations, avocado has also been tested to be useful in healing wounds faster. Instead of depending on antibiotics and other stimulating drugs, giving your kid, avocado is actually helpful as it heals wounds faster. (Yasir, et al, 2010).
Antimicrobial properties: Other studies have shown that avocado possesses antimicrobial properties. The extracts from avocado have been tested on various bacterial strains. Observations revealed that bacterial strains were controlled significantly by avocado extracts. (Gomez-Flores, et al, 2008).
Some measures to be taken while giving avocado to your baby
Here are some measures to be taken while giving avocado to your babies.
Can avocado be cooked before giving it to my baby?
Not necessarily. The flesh of avocado is very soft and buttery that anybody can eat. Cooking avocado is not required and fragile fruits like avocado when cooked loose all their nutrients. Thus, it is preferable to be given fresh.
How to choose and store avocados?
Avocados get ripened only when they are picked. So, you can choose avocados depending upon immediate consumption or later consumption. For immediate consumption, you can choose the ones that have been ripened and are ready to eat. For later consumption you can choose semi-ripened or which requires some more days to ripen. During the ripening process, never refrigerate them or they will never ripen. After the ripening is complete, they can be stored in a refrigerator.
How to feed avocado to a six month baby?
Without cooking avocado, give it by peeling the outer layer, removing the seed and mash the flesh. You can mix it with other fruits like banana or apple, but at least for the first time do not mix it with any other fruit. Also be on the lookout for allergies. If you are concerned further, you can take advice from your pediatrician.