The health benefits of parsley for babies include good supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, offers a remedy for digestive disorders, it is good for eyesight, good for the immune system and cures urinary tract infections.
Parsley is one of the most popular herbs in the world, often used in Mediterranean cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine European cuisine and American cuisine as well. Mostly parsley is used as a garnish in these cuisines. According to ancient medical school of thought and modern day research points out that parsley is not just another herb for garnish. It is much more than just a simple garnishing herb. Apart from the leaves, the root of parsley is also eaten. In total parsley is cultivated as an herb, spice and a vegetable.
Two types of parsley are very famous. One is the curly leaf parsley and the other is Italian flat leaf parsley. The Greeks were perhaps the first to have started using parsley. They believed that parsley is a sacred herb and even used it is a symbol of respect for victorious athletes and the deceased.
After parsley was discovered by the Greeks, it consumed mainly for its medicinal properties. As decades passed by, people started consuming parsley as food. Later on the medieval times, parsley was once again retained its position as a medicinal herb.
Nutrition in parsley
The National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture notes the following nutrients in parsley
|Nutrient||Value per 100 g||Nutrient||Value per 100 g|
|Water||87.7 g||Energy||36 kcal|
|Protein||2.97 g||Total Lipid||0.79 g|
|Carbohydrate||6.33 g||Sugar||0.85 g|
|Calcium||138 mg||Iron||6.2 mg|
|Magnesium||50 mg||Phosphorous||58 mg|
|Potassium||554 mg||Sodium||56 mg|
|Zinc||1.07 mg||Vitamin C||133 mg|
|Thiamin||0.086 mg||Riboflavin||0.098 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.09 mg||Folate||152 mg|
|Vitamin A||8424 IU||Vitamin E||0.75 mg|
|Vitamin K||1640 ug|
Can I include parsley in my baby’s food?
Yes, parsley can be introduced into your baby’s food. In fact, giving parsley is a very good idea because parsley is rich in essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The ideal age for introducing parsley is between 6-8 months of age.
Health benefits of parsley
Some of the health benefits of parsley include
Good source of vitamins and minerals: Parsley is a very good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, B complex vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc. These vitamins and minerals enable timely development of your baby.
Rich in antioxidants: Apart from being a very good source of vitamins and minerals, parsley is also a good source of antioxidants as well. These antioxidants help protect your baby against any cellular level damages caused by free radicals.
Remedy for digestive disorders: Parsley has been traditionally used as a remedy against digestive problems. Some of the major digestive problems are indigestion and flatulence, etc can be cured by parsley. A teaspoonful of fresh parsley with a glass of water is suggested. If you think your baby cannot drink a glass of water, decrease the quantity of water and the quantity of parsley accordingly. (Bakhru, Herbs That Heal).
Good for eyesight: As mentioned earlier, parsley is a good source of vitamin A and beta carotene. These are essential for optimum eyesight development in babies. Generally, the eyesight of babies is not as strong as adults, but as the baby grows so does the eyesight. In order for that to happen, herbs like parsley can come in handy.
Good for the immune system: Adding parsley to your baby’s food has an added advantage. It is good for the immune system as well. Vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and niacin strengthen the immune system of your baby.
Cures urinary tract infections: There is a significant chance that babies can suffer from urinary tract infections. This can be reduced to a great extent by giving parsley to your baby. Parsley has diuretic properties, which helps out in clearing the bladder and keeping the urinary tract free from infections. Please check with your pediatrician for this remedy as parsley can worsen kidney diseases. (Web MD).
Measures to be taken while giving parsley to your baby
Parsley allergies: As such the risk of allergic reactions from parsley is very less in infants. But, it is better to be on the lookout for visible signs of allergies like skin rashes.
Must read for pregnant women: Pregnant women must be very careful while eating parsley. There is evidence that parsley can be responsible for abortions in early stages of pregnancy and in the later stages it can induce untimely uterine contractions and also some birth defects. This is possible when parsley is taken in very high amounts and not in small quantities. (Web MD).
Fresh parsley: Make sure that you give fresh parsley to your baby. When you are buying parsley, make sure that the leaves do not have any moisture on them. This moisture is breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Avoid such parsley leaves. If you think parsley leaves are moist, then air dry them before refrigeration.
How to cook parsley: Parsley is mostly added raw in salads, soups and dishes. Parsley is a heat sensitive herb and many chefs suggest adding parsley right before serving. Too much exposure to heat lets parsley lose not only its delicate flavor but also its nutrients. In case when infants cannot digest parsley, steam it for a minute or so before serving it to your baby. Do not overcook parsley. After your baby turns 1 year, you can directly add raw parsley to his or her food. Make sure to rinse the leaves thoroughly when serving it raw. You could also try adding parsley to other baby foods.
Juicing it: Juicing parsley or as a matter of fact any other herb can be problematic due to spill-overs. If you want to give parsley as a medicine to your baby, then the best way to do is to chop it into small pieces and then boil it on slow flame for a not more than 2 minutes. An alternative is to chop and steam the leaves for 1-2 minutes, mash it into paste and add it to a glass of water.