The Health benefits of cucumber for babies include good supply of vitamins, good source of antioxidants, ideal fruit during summers, remedy for stomach disorders, acts as a natural pain killer and controls skin eruptions.
Cucumber is another popular summer vegetable which belongs to the gourd family. Cucumber is highly consumed vegetable during summer for its high moisture content. And it is also one of the favorite vegetables in the United States, as it is pickled and consumed round the year.
It is believed that cucumber originated in South East Asia probably in India or China. During ancient times, cucumber was also spotted in Mediterranean countries including Greece and Rome and in Egypt as well. From Greece and Rome, it is believed to have spread to Europe through Spain and Italy. Later on, with Spanish travelers, cucumber found its way to the Americas as well.
The highest producing countries of cucumber include China with 40 million tons, Iran with 1.8 million tons, Turkey with 1.7 million tons, Russia with 1.1 million tons, United States with 880 thousand tons, Ukraine with 860 thousand tones, Spain with 680 thousand tons, Egypt with 630 thousand tones, Japan with 580 thousand tones and Indonesia with 540 thousand tons.
Nutrition in Cucumber
According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition in cucumber includes
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||95.23 g||Energy||15 kcal|
|Protein||0.65 g||Total Lipid||0.11 g|
|Carbohydrate||3.63 g||Sugar||1.67 g|
|Fiber||0.5 g||Calcium||16 mg|
|Iron||0.28 g||Magnesium||13 mg|
|Phosphorus||24 mg||Potassium||147 mg|
|Sodium||2 mg||Zinc||0.2 g|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg||Thiamin||0.027 mg|
|Niacin||0.098 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.04 mg|
|Folate||7 ug||Vitamin A||105 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.03 mg||Vitamin K||16.4 mg|
Is it safe to give cucumber to babies?
Yes, cucumbers are one of the safe vegetables that can be introduced into your baby’s diet. The ideal age for cucumber introduction is between 8-10 months. It is regarded as a safe vegetable because it does not cause any allergic reactions. It is also regarded that pesticide residue in cucumber is generally very less compared to other vegetables and fruits.
6 Health benefits of cucumber in babies diet
Here are some of the health benefits of introducing cucumber into your baby’s diet.
Good source of vitamins: Cucumber is a good source of essential vitamins. These vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, vitamin K, niacin, thiamin and folate. Each of these vitamins has a different use in the body. Vitamin C is useful for building up the immune system, vitamin A is good for eyesight, vitamin B-6 is good for amino acid metabolism, hemoglobin formation, neuro-transmission, etc. Vitamin E is useful in neurological functions, stops platelet aggregation and is a free radical destroyer. Vitamin K is useful in blood coagulation, bone metabolism.
Good source of antioxidants: Apart from vitamins, cucumber is also a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants prevent free radical scavenging. Free radicals are formed during metabolism of food. They are deprived of electrons and are on the lookout for free electrons. Now, they snatch away electrons from neighboring cells and tissues and sometimes from the DNA itself. This can lead to diseases in the future. Antioxidants contain free electrons with them and donate these electrons to the free radicals and neutralize them. (Kumar, et al, 2010).
Ideal fruit during summers: As summer is maturing fast enough, cucumber can come very much in handy, especially if toddlers and kids are around. Cucumber contains high amount of water and it is an ideal juice for your kids during summer afternoons. It not only quenches thrust and replenishes water content in the body, but it also supplies essential vitamins and minerals as well. Its great bargain compared to sweet aerated sodas.
Good for stomach disorders: Cucumber provides remedy for stomach disorders including acidity, gastric and duodenal ulcers. The juice of cucumber is given under such circumstances. The juice can be prepared by steaming, crushing and squeezing the pulp. As cucumber mostly contains water, this water can be given to your baby. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Acts as a natural pain killer: Some studies have also shown that cucumber can also act as a natural pain killer or analgesic. The pain killing activity was comparable to that of a commercially available molecule used in pain killer pills. The flavonoids present in cucumber are believed to possess this property. (Kumar, et al, 2010).
Cure for skin eruptions: Cucumber is also popularly used as a natural medicine for skin eruptions. A small burn or skin eruption or a bad bug bite can leave a pretty much ugly mark on the skin. Also for quick relief, place a slice of cucumber on the erupted area for few hours and the pain and intensity of the eruption will decrease drastically. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Measures to be taken while giving cucumber to your baby
Here are some measures that you can take while giving cucumber to your baby
How to buy a good one: A cucumber with no soft spots, no cuts and bruises and no wrinkles should be good enough. Also make sure that the cucumber is not bitter. Sometimes bitterness can develop in few cucumbers, rendering them useless.
Peel the skin: It is also important to peel the skin of cucumber. Your baby might not be able to digest cucumber with the peel on it. Peel it for better results.
Boil or steam it: Boiling or better, steaming cucumber is very important, if you’re giving it your infant child. As most people love to eat raw cucumber and hardly anyone likes cooked cucumber. But, for your child, do cook it before serving it due to the fact that the moisture inside cucumber might contain bacteria. Boiling or steaming it kills those bacteria.
Look for allergic reactions, just in case: As we’ve mentioned earlier that cucumber does not cause allergic reactions, but it is better to be on the safer side. While introducing it for the first time, be on the lookout for any allergic reactions. Only if everything is okay, you serve it your baby the next time.
You can add few other vegetables along with cucumber such as carrots, tomatoes, bottle gourd, a tiny bit of beet, etc. Boil all these vegetables thoroughly and make a puree so that it will be easy for your baby to eat it.