Mango is one of the exotic fruits in the world with great health benefits. Some of the health benefits from mangoes in baby food includes protection of eyesight, fights microbial infections, easily digestible, improvement in brain development and many more.
Cultivated mainly in the tropics of India and South East Asia, mango is considered to be the ‘King of Fruits’. The benefits that we can realize from mangoes include easily digestible, protection of eyesight, fights microbial infections and improvement in brain development.
In South East Asia, summers are very hot and tough. But people have a great reason to celebrate summer and that is, arrival of summer brings mangoes. In India, mango is a welcome as it is eaten both in unripe and ripe states. Unripe and extremely sour mangoes are craze, as most households prepare mango pickles which last for more than a year. Ripe mangoes are also a craze due to their sweet taste. It is eaten after meals and/or in the evenings.
Mango is believed to have originated in South East Asia. One can find many varieties of mango fruit which vary in size, shape, texture and taste. While some unripe mangoes are very sour, others are less sour. As the fruit ripens, the sourness disappears and what remains is a very sweet flavour. While in some mangoes, the flesh with fiber texture develops into sweet juice and with seemingly hard flesh would develop into smooth and soft fruit. Most of these varieties have been cultivated in India for a very long time. India is the highest producer of mangoes in the world, with over 16 million tonnes produced in 2010-2011, while the whole world’s share of mangoes is about 38 million tonnes.
Mangoes for babies
Now a question of whether or not mangoes can be fed to baby food arises. Well, the answer is yes. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends introducing fruits such as mango, apple, avocado, banana, etc and vegetables such as carrot, peas, green beans which are pureed.
Introduce mango to your baby not because, it is an exotic and seasoned fruit. But, introduce it because, it contains a lot of good things that your baby needs for developing a strong body and mind.
Fruits such as mangoes contain high amount of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. It would be an understatement to say that vitamins and minerals are essential for your baby. In fact, underestimating their role in baby’s growth can result in deficiencies later on.
Good for eyesight: The eyesight of new born babies is not as much developed as adult humans. Their sight efficiency develops during the course of their growth in the subsequent months. During this time, good supply of vitamin A is needed for proper and quick development of eye sight. Ripe mango can be a very good choice because it is high in vitamin A. (HK Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Easily digestible: Puree of mango fruit is easily digestible, especially for infants. Feeding them with mangoes is also advantageous because, mangoes contain enzymes and biochemicals such as esters, terpenes and aldehydes which promote digestion. (Organic Facts.net).
Fights microbial infections: One might wonder about this benefit. Eating mango fruit promotes epithelial function in the body and thereby the attack of microbes is reduced to a significant extent. The microbes attacking can bring in common colds, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc.
Strengthens immunity: Infants and children have a weak immune system and it would be developing stage. During this period any food that promotes the immune function is a welcome. Mangoes are such fruits which promote immune system in your baby. The high carotene and beta-carotene content present in mangoes promotes the immune system and makes it stronger.
Enables brain development: Brain development is also important in infants as body development. Brain functioning improves by consuming mangoes. Mangoes are rich in vitamin B-6 which helps in improved brain functioning. Apart from vitamin B-6, mangoes contain glutamine acid and it is known to improve memory and concentration. (Organic Facts.net).
Protection against sunstroke: Another benefit of mangoes during summer is their protection against sunstroke and hot winds. Unripe mangoes can either be cooked in hot ashes or steam boiled and the pulp obtained can be made into a squash mixed with sugar and water. This juice taken during hot summers can protect against dehydration and sunstroke. This is fit to be given for toddlers who are up and running all day during summers. (HK Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Measures to be taken while feeding mangoes
The age of the baby: Make sure to feed mangoes only to babies who are at least 6 months of age and those for whom solid or semi solid food has already started.
Texture of the fruit: The texture of the mango fruit is also important. Feed only mashed up mango fruit and make sure that it does not contain any fibers. Some mangoes can have number of fibers which can make swallowing difficult for your baby.
Do not feed unripe mango: Unripe mango is not to be fed to infants. Unripe mango can be very sour and babies might not like it and moreover, unripe mangoes can be indigestible to many infants.
Check out for allergies: Mango being a tropical fruit might be allergic to some people. If there is history of food allergies in your family, then take your paediatrician’s advice, as food allergies can pass down from generations. Also perform, the 4 day test to make sure that your baby is not allergic to mangoes.