The health benefits of broccoli for babies include supply of essential vitamins and minerals, strengthening of the immune system, good for eyesight, cure for anemia, remedy for gastric ulcer, good source of antioxidants, cure for diarrhea and acts as a natural laxative.
Broccoli has been one of the very popular vegetable in the US. Broccoli belongs to cabbage family and by the looks it is very similar to cauliflower. Broccoli is not a native to the Americas, but it belongs to Europe. It is believed that it originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe and during the middle ages until 19th century it had become very popular in Italy. In fact, the name broccoli comes from the Italian name ‘broccolo’ meaning, ‘the flowering top of cabbage’. It was during the 19th century that it was brought into the United States. At present, in the United States, it mostly grown in states such as California, Arizona and Texas.
Broccoli is also grown around different parts of the world including China, India, Spain, Italy, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, etc. China and India are the largest producers of Broccoli in the world.
Nutrition in broccoli
According to the National Nutrient Database by the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrients in broccoli include
|Nutrients||Value per 100 g||Nutrients||Value per 100 g|
|Water||89.3 g||Energy||34 kcal|
|Protein||2.82 g||Total Lipid (fat)||0.37 g|
|Carbohydrates||6.64 g||Fiber||2.6 g|
|Sugars||1.70 g||Calcium||47 mg|
|Iron||0.73 mg||Magnesium||21 mg|
|Phosphorous||66 mg||Potassium||316 mg|
|Sodium||33 mg||Zinc||0.41 mg|
|Vitamin C||89.2 mg||Thiamin||0.071 mg|
|Niacin||0.639 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.175 mg|
|Folate||63 ug||Vitamin A||623 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.78 mg||Vitamin K||101.6 ug|
Is broccoli good for babies?
There is no doubt that broccoli is one of the good vegetables that can be introduced to your baby. Broccoli is full of nutrients that are essential for your baby’s growth. But, there are few issues with broccoli. Though, they are not biggest challenges none the less, they are important. Broccoli has been listed among flatulence causing vegetables and also it can be difficult for your baby to digest broccoli. Hence, it is better to introduce broccoli to your baby between 8-10 months of age.
Health benefits of broccoli for babies
Here are some of the health benefits of giving broccoli to your baby.
Strengthens the immune system: Broccoli being a good source of vitamin C, helps in strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C plays a vital role in improving the immune system and keeping your baby healthy and resistant to various diseases.
Good for eye sight: Apart from being a good source of vitamin C, broccoli is also a good source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A and beta-carotene are highly essential for developing good eyesight for your baby. Other nutrients such as phosphorous, B complex vitamins, which are found in broccoli, are also useful in developing good eyesight.
Cure for anemia: Anemia is a condition where in the blood lacks necessary amounts of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, as we know is essential for holding oxygen molecules and transporting them to each and every organ in the body. Iron is an important element in hemoglobin and lack of iron results in anemia. Feeding your baby regularly with broccoli reduces the chances of developing anemia as broccoli is rich in iron. (Craig, 1994).
Remedy for gastric ulcers: Gastric ulcers can form as a result of uncontrolled acidity. Though stomach produces acids for digestion, it itself is vulnerable to the action of acid. This results in acidity and can lead to gastric ulcers. When faced with gastric ulcers, broccoli soup can be given to your baby. (Lemos, et al, 2011).
Good source of antioxidants: Broccoli is a good source of antioxidants that are an essential ingredient in any kind of diet, equally for adults as well as kids. Vegetables such as broccoli are a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants are needed by the body to counter act free radicals that are produced during metabolism and protect tissues, cells and DNA. (Sikora, 2012).
Natural laxative: The presence of dietary fiber makes broccoli an important vegetable with natural laxative properties. The dietary fiber present in broccoli acts as a flushing agent by absorbing moisture and flushes out all the impurities from your baby’s digestive system, keeping it clean and healthy.
Cure for diarrhea: Diarrhea can be very dangerous for infants. Diarrhea drastically reduces the water content in the body leading to severe dehydration and it can be lethal in some cases of negligence. Whenever, a child is suffering from diarrhea, parents must immediately rush to the pediatrician. Apart from this, soup of broccoli can be given to your baby as a remedy for diarrhea. (Shakar, et al, 2012).
Measures to be taken while giving broccoli to your baby
Here are some of the measures that can be taken while giving broccoli to your baby.
Choose the best broccoli: Choosing good broccoli is very important. Make sure that the broccoli is firm enough and weighs heavy. Heavy weight for size means that broccoli is healthy internally.
Check for moisture: Checking for moisture inside the broccoli stalks can be a good way of determining whether or not is good or spoiled. Moisture accumulation can mean that there is a high chance of infection. Avoid such infected broccoli. Also, if you are not able to find any moisture or any kind of infections right away, make sure to check it while cutting it.
Cleaning broccoli: After cutting broccoli, run the pieces through water or a minute or so to flush out any unwanted things. Or else, you could put them in a bowl of water right away after cutting them.
Cooking broccoli: Due to the above mentioned reasons, make sure that you do not give raw broccoli to your child. Either boil it or steam it before you give it to your child. With raw vegetables, there is always a risk of infections. If you want to give broccoli soup to your baby, cut it into very small pieces and boil it to an extent that the soup has thick consistency. You can add ingredients of your choice to make the soup tastier. But before serving strain all broccoli pieces using a cloth or a thin filter.