The health benefits of beans for babies include good supply of proteins, good source of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, high amount of dietary fiber, supply of antioxidants and supply of essential minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sodium and zinc.
Beans or green beans or French beans, as they are popularly known around the world, are one of the best sources of protein from the vegetarian world. Beans, like most legumes belong to the plant family of Phaseolus. There are other types of beans available which include broad beans, carob beans, lima beans, chick peas and kidney beans.
Health Benefits of Beans for Babies
Green bean has been consumed by native Americans for more than 7000 years. After the Spanish conquest on the Americas, these beans found their way to Europe. During the 15th and 16th centuries, beans were considered to be part exotic and part luxury food and by most wealthy Europeans. Today, green beans are highly produced in countries such as China, Indonesia, India, Turkey and Egypt.
Nutrition found in green beans
According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in green beans include
|Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g||Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g|
|Water||90.32 g||Energy||31 kcal|
|Protein||1.83 g||Total Lipid||0.22 g|
|Carbohydrates||6.97 g||Sugars||3.26 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2.7 g||Calcium||37 mg|
|Iron||1.03 mg||Magnesium||25 mg|
|Phosphorous||38 mg||Potassium||211 mg|
|Sodium||6 mg||Zinc||0.24 mg|
|Vitamin C||12.2 mg||Thiamin||0.082 mg|
|Niacin||0.734 mg||Riboflavin||0.104 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.141 mg||Folate||33 ug|
|Vitamin A||690 IU||Vitamin E||0.41 mg|
|Vitamin K||14.4 ug|
When can I start feeding my baby with green beans?
Green beans can be introduced to your baby’s diet at about 6 months of age, but introducing beans so early can cause certain issues such as increase in flatulence and there is also a chance of indigestion as well. So, it is advisable to wait until your baby is at least 1 year old.
Health benefits of green beans for babies
Here are some of the health benefits offered by green beans for babies.
Very high source of proteins: Beans are one of the highest source of protein in the plant kingdom. The seeds of most beans including green beans are good source of protein. But there is one catch, the amount of protein in fresh beans might be small but in dried form, the protein content is very high. (Nutritional Value of Dry Beans).
Good source of vitamin A: Vitamin A is among one of the very important vitamins that your baby needs. As we know, vitamin A promotes eyesight, it is also a powerful antioxidant and it promotes the immune system by strengthening the mucous structures in the body.
Supplies vitamin C: Vitamin C is another vitamin that is known to improve the immune system in the body. It is also helpful in preventing common cold, cough, asthma, etc. Apart from inflammation, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant and keeps free radicals at bay.
Good source of folate: Folate or folic acid belongs to the group of vitamin B. This vitamin helps in producing red blood cells which are essential in an infant who needs to supply nutrients to every organ in the body for quick development. Folate is also useful in strengthening brain cells and for proper functioning of the brain.
Other antioxidants: Apart from the vitamins, green beans are also home to other types of antioxidants such as flavonoids, alkaloids, catechin and anthocyanin, etc have been isolated from green beans. These biochemicals act as powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that are produced in the body through metabolism. Metabolism definitely produces free radicals and without countering these free radicals, there is a chance that these free radicals can damage the cells and worse, the DNA. So, it is necessary to include that diet which supplies good amount of antioxidants. (Ocho-Anini et al, 2010).
Dietary fiber: The pods of green beans are full of dietary fiber. This dietary fiber is very much useful in keeping the colon or the large intestine clean by regulating bowel movements. Dietary fiber absorbs water in the body and flushes out all the impurities in the colon through the stool. Regular bowel movements are good for your baby as it keeps diseases at bay and promotes appetite.
Minerals: Apart from providing vitamins and antioxidants, green beans are a decent source of minerals. Minerals are also very much essential in the development of your baby. Decent supply of minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, etc are essential for conducting various bodily functions.
Measures to be taken while feeding beans to your baby
Here are some of the measures that could be taken while giving beans to your baby.
Start with little amounts: As beans can be heavy for babies, start by giving them not more than 1-2 spoons in the beginning. Essentially, you are making the baby get used to heavy food by giving it in small quantities. Undigested beans can also increase flatulence, so start by giving only small quantities in the beginning.
How to cook beans? You could opt for the bean seeds without the pods. Bean seeds can be steamed, mashed and fed along with a cereal. Use only boiled or steamed seeds as long as you are sure that your baby can chew the pods. Bean pods contain long fibres which can pose a risk of choking, if given in high quantities.
How to select the best beans? General rules for buying vegetables apply for beans. Check the beans before you start refrigerating them at home. Make sure that beans do not retain any moisture on them. Moisture is breeding ground for bacteria and fungus that spoil beans.