Health benefits of grapes for babies include supply of antioxidants, protection of central nervous system, acts as a natural laxative, easy to digest, remedy for respiratory diseases, improves blood count and protects liver.
Grapes are one of the very popular fruits in the world. There are several species of grapes available in the world. Grapes are known to mankind for many millennia now. In the present times, grapes are associated with wine, but when man first discovered grapes, he ate them for they tasted sweet.
Today, most of the grapes produced are used for producing wine and globally grape production is about 68 metric tonnes. China and Italy are lead producers of grapes in the world.
Grapes are believed to have been cultivated in Middle East some six to eight thousand years ago in the present country, Caucasia. From here grapes have spread to other parts of Asia, Egypt, Europe and the Americas. At present, many states such as Florida and California produce grapes.
Nutrition in grapes
According to the National Nutrient Database, United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in grapes include
|Nutrition Component||Value per 100 g||Nutrition Component||Value per 100 g|
|Water||81.30 g||Energy||67 kcal|
|Protein||0.63 g||Total lipid (fat)||0.35 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||17.15 g||Fiber, total dietary||0.9 g|
|Sugars, total||16.25 g||Calcium||14 mg|
|Iron||0.29 mg||Magnesium||5 mg|
|Phosphorus||10 mg||Potassium||191 mg|
|Sodium||2 mg||Zinc||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin C||4.0 mg||Thiamin||0.092 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.057 mg||Niacin||0.300 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.110 mg||Folate||4 µg|
|Vitamin A||100 IU||Vitamin E||0.19 mg|
|Vitamin K||14.6 µg|
Is it safe to give grapes to my baby?
Yes, it is safe to give grapes to your baby. But, there are few measures that need to be followed. Only mashed up grapes have to be given to your baby. Do not give intact grape fruits as there is a major risk of choking in babies. The ideal age of introducing grapes with necessary measures is between 6-8 months of age. While introducing, please be on the look out for any possible allergies from grapes.
Health benefits of grapes for your babies
Here are some of the benefits of introducing grapes into your baby’s diet.
Supply of antioxidants: Antioxidants are perhaps one of the understated micronutrients in infants’ diet. When we look at a baby’s diet and weight gaining proportion, babies need to eat more food because they have to grow quickly. When a lot of food is being consumed and metabolized, things named free radicals are formed, which are ions tend to stabilize the robbing nearby cells and DNA of electrons to stabilize. In other words, cell damage and DNA damage is a concern even for babies. Antioxidants have additional electrons that they donate to free radicals to counteract them. Fruits and vegetables are great source of antioxidants and grapes are no exception. Feeding your baby with grapes whenever they are available, not only fills your baby’s tiny tummy, but also provides antioxidants and protects their bodies from free radical damage. (Nassiri-Asl, Hosseinzadeh, 2009).
Protection of central nervous system: Central nervous system in babies is a developing process. As the baby is growing, so does the nervous system. As the baby grows older, new neurons form and new neural connections form. This is a delicate balance that affects the memory and intelligence of the baby in the future. Giving grapes to your baby protects the neurons from damage and keeping the brain healthy. (Nassiri-Asl, Hosseinzadeh, 2009).
Acts as a natural laxative: Grapes contain a considerable amount of dietary fiber. This dietary fiber adds bulk to the stool and absorbs lot of water. This helps the stool to be soft and bowel movements take place very easily. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Easily digestible: Grapes are one of those few fruits which are very easy to digest, even for a baby and hence it is an ideal fruit when your baby is suffering from indigestion or not doing so well. Ripened grapes are known to counteract acidity in the stomach as well. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Remedy for respiratory diseases: There is a higher chance of babies to contract respiratory diseases ranging from common cold, cough to asthma and bronchitis. Giving grapes to your baby is a good remedy for diseases like asthma. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Improving blood quality and blood count: Blood quality refers to hemoglobin levels and blood count refers to the number of red blood cells. Taking grapes regularly improves both hemoglobin levels and red blood cells in infants and toddlers. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Stimulates liver: Grapes acts as a stimulant of liver and heals it as well. Liver stimulation leads to increase in liver activity and bile secretion. Bile secretion is an essential step in digestion. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Safety measures to be taken for grapes
Do not give whole grapes: Giving whole grapes to babies, who do not have teeth, is a very bad idea. There is a higher risk of choking from grapes as they can get stuck in the throat. Instead, mash the grapes and give the pulp to babies. While mashing grapes, please make sure that you remove all the seeds. Babies can have trouble swallowing whole seeds.
Do not make juice: More often, some parents think that giving juice is better than giving mashed pulp. Pediatricians discourage parents from giving fruit juices to babies. Generally, fruit juices are very sweet and babies tend to stick to that sweet taste, developing a sweet tooth. There is also a higher risk of developing tooth decay in the months to come. Tooth decaying bacteria would love to live in such a sugar filled environment.
Rinse the grapes properly: Unless you buy your grapes from an organic store, grapes may be sprayed with pesticides and the residue may still remain. Rinse them in flowing water for few minutes or leave them in the water for few hours.
Texture of grapes: The texture of grapes is also very important while choosing the best grapes. Make sure that the grapes are firm with no dents or soft spots. Avoid very soft grapes as they are ripened to the fullest and wouldn’t last very long. Avoid sour grapes. Choose only sweet grapes.
Storage: Needless to say, refrigerate them as soon as possible. It is also important to let the grapes thaw for some time before giving them to your baby. Cold foods can result in common cold and cough.