The health benefits of flaxseeds for babies include supply of omega 3 fatty acids, good for bone development with supply of calcium and phosphorus, reduced risk of anemia with good supply of iron and acts as a natural laxative thanks to the presence of high dietary fiber.
Flax or Common Flax or Linseed is a perennial plant that grows mainly in cooler climates. In ancient times, it was grown extensively during ancient periods from the Mediterranean to India and China. The fibers of flax stem are considered to be much stronger than cotton fibers. Apart from the use of fibers, the seeds of flax have been consumed as food and medicine for thousands of years now.
Today, the highest producer of flax is Canada, comprising about 75% of the world’s total flax production. China, Russia and India respectively follow suit of Canada. While most of the flax and flax seeds are used for industrial use, its domestic use is once again spreading in the recent decades.
Oil from flax seeds has been used for many centuries now. Apart from human consumption, until the invention of synthetic oils, flax seed oil has been used as a major solvent used for industrial purposes.
Is it okay to give flaxseeds to my baby?
Yes, you can add flax seeds to your baby’s food. You can be sure that flax seed does not cause any allergic reactions in babies. But, it is good to keep your eyes open for any unwanted reactions that you might notice. Flax seed allergy is very rare in infants and toddlers. The right age to introduce flax seeds to your baby is between 7-8 months.
Health benefits of flaxseeds for babies
Here are some of the health benefits of flaxseeds for babies
Good source of Omega 3 fatty acids: Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids from plant sources. Generally, when we think of omega 3 fatty acids, we think of fish. But, there is risk of sea food allergies for babies. In that case, flax seeds are here for rescue.
Good source of calcium: The amount of calcium found in 100 g of flaxseed is 255 mg. By adding flax seeds to your baby’s food, you can be sure about the supply of calcium that makes bones stronger.
Reduces risk of anemia: Flaxseeds are also a good source of another important mineral, iron. Your baby needs iron to produce hemoglobin. Lack of iron can cause anemia and low blood count, which can make your baby weak.
Is high in phosphorus: Phosphorus is another mineral which can be found in abundance in flaxseeds. 100 g of flaxseeds contain 813 mg of phosphorus. Phosphorus is the next abundantly found mineral in our body to calcium. In fact, both calcium and phosphorus help in forming bones. By giving flax seeds to your baby, you can make your baby’s bones stronger.
High in dietary fiber: Flaxseeds are also one of the highest suppliers of dietary fiber. 100 g of flax seed contains about 27 g of dietary fiber. This fiber helps in reducing constipation. In fact, flaxseeds are highly recommended for constipation. You can include flax seeds in your baby’s diet, if you feel that your baby has constipation.
Measures to be taken while giving flaxseeds to your baby
Here are some of the measures to be taken while giving flax seeds to your baby.
How to select the right flaxseeds for your baby: Generally, you can find two types of seeds. One is yellow flax seeds and the other is dark colored flax seeds. Yellow flax seeds are lower in omega 3 fatty acids in comparison to dark colored seeds. So, it is better to bring home the dark colored seeds.
How to make flaxseeds for babies: In order to make flax seeds suitable for your baby, you need to soak them in water or boil them and make a paste before you add it your baby’s food. Don’t give flax seeds directly to your baby. There is a high chance that your baby would be able to digest them.
Risk of allergies: Running into allergies is less with flaxseeds, but you can look out for possible signs of indigestion. If you feel that the baby is not ready for flax seeds, just don’t give it your baby now. Try again when your baby is little older, say after 1 year.
How much of flax seed can I give to my baby: You can start out by adding not more than 2-3 teaspoons of it in your baby’s food. You can increase the amount as your baby gets accustomed to it.
How about using flax seed oil: Do not use flaxseed oil in place of regular cooking oil. Flax seed oil can go rancid when heated. So, avoid using flax seed oil during cooking.
While introducing a new food, follow the standard allergy testing procedure of 4 days.
Nutrition in flax seeds
According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in flax seeds include
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||6.96 g||Energy||534 kcal|
|Protein||18.29 g||Total Lipid||42.16 g|
|Carbohydrate||28.8 g||Fiber||27.3 g|
|Sugars||1.5 g||Calcium||255 mg|
|Iron||5.73 mg||Magnesium||392 mg|
|Phosphorus||813 mg||Sodium||30 mg|
|Zinc||4.34 mg||Copper||1.2 mg|
|Manganese||2.4 mg||Selenium||25.4 ug|
|Vitamin C||0.6 mg||Thiamin||1.644 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.161 mg||Niacin||3.080 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.985 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.473 mg|
|Folate||87 ug||Vitamin K||4.3 ug|