The health benefits of pear for babies include good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it is easy to digest, it helps in healing wounds faster, it stimulates the immune system and it also possesses antimicrobial properties.
Pear is a wonderful fruit that grows widely in temperate regions of the world. There are many varieties and cultivars of pears available today. Pears vary in texture, color, shape and flavor as well. Though pear fruit is appreciated for its taste and flavor, yet the world annual production of pear is said to be about one fourth that of apple. This is perhaps due to the foul smelling flowers of pear which makes it difficult for mass cultivation. The word pear in English comes from Latin name ‘pera’ or ‘pira’. This name has been adopted in French which gave rise to ‘poire’, ‘peer’ in Dutch.
It is believed that pear had its origins in Europe, North Africa, South East Asia and Asia Minor. Pear is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world dating back more than 7000 years old. Pear appears in many of the ancient treaties from ancient China, Greece and Rome. At present, highest pear growing countries include China, United States, Italy, Argentina, Spain, India, Turkey, South Africa, Japan, South Korea and Belgium.
Nutrition in pear
According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in pear includes
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||83. 9 g||Energy||57 kcal|
|Protein||0.36 g||Total Lipid||0.14 g|
|Carbohydrate||15.23 g||Fiber||3.1 g|
|Sugar||9.75 g||Calcium||9 mg|
|Iron||0.18 mg||Magnesium||7 mg|
|Phosphorous||12 mg||Potassium||116 mg|
|Sodium||1 mg||Zinc||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin C||4.3 mg||Thiamin||0.012 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.026 mg||Niacin||0.161 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.029 mg||Vitamin A||25 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg||Vitamin K||4.4 ug|
Is giving pear safe for my child?
Yes, pear is a good fruit that can be introduced into your baby’s diet. As the fruit is very light, easy to digest and is full of valuable nutrients. The right age for introducing pear is between 6-8 months.
At the same time, it is advisable for parents to watch out for allergic reactions, as pear belongs to family of trees that cause allergies. It does not mean that pear fruit will cause allergies, but there is a chance that it might happen.
Health benefits of pear for babies
Listed below are some of the health benefits of pear for babies
Vitamins and minerals: One of the main reasons for pear to be included in your baby’s diet is for supply of essential vitamins and minerals apart from regular supply of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Vitamins and minerals play a great role in the overall development of your baby including strengthening the immune system, improving eyesight, bone growth, brain development, red blood cell production, etc and various other areas of development. Each vitamin and mineral has an important role to play in the overall development of your baby.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are those biochemicals that are important for protecting the cells, tissues and DNA from damage. As the food we eat is broken down into specific nutrients and consumed within each cell of our body, as a residue, the cell release certain chemicals known as free radicals. These free radical molecules lack electrons and in order to stabilize chemically, they snatch electrons from anywhere, including cells, tissues and even DNA. This causes damage to cells and DNA that can sometimes be irreparable. Babies also vulnerable to the attacks from free radicals due to their size and relative food consumption. Thus, even the food of infants, must also include good amount of antioxidants. Giving fruits, vegetables and herbs to your child regularly can help maintain level of antioxidants. Pear is one of the richest suppliers of antioxidants.
Easy to digest: The flesh of pear fruit is very soft and tender. This makes it one of the ideal candidates for babies. The soft and tender fruit is both easy to eat and digest by babies. It is also useful during times when your baby is suffering from digestion related problems including indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery, etc.
Antimicrobial properties: Pear tree possesses antimicrobial properties. The biochemicals from pear possess this quality. They have been effective against bacterial species which usually cause diseases. (Lim, Edible Medicinal and Non-medicinal Plants).
Helps in healing wounds faster: Another benefit of pear fruit is its wound healing property. Studies conducted on the fruit extract have shown high level of healing activity in wounds. The chances of your toddler getting hurt increase when they start walking. It would be good idea to feed pear if your baby gets hurt. (Ventakesh, et al).
Stimulates the immune system: Other studies have found that pear is very good for the immune system. The immune system gets stimulated by biochemicals like caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. These biochemicals are known for stimulating the immune system and are also being tested in treating HIV. (Duke, The Green Pharmacy).
Measures to be taken while feeding your baby with pear
Here are some of the measures that can be taken while giving pear fruit to your baby
Risk of allergies: As pear belongs to the family of allergy causing plants, there is a chance that even pear might cause food allergy to your baby. It is better to include pear in your baby’s diet only when you are very sure and you’ve spoken to your pediatrician. The ideal age for introducing pear fruit is between 6-8 months. If you are not sure, then you can start giving pear after your baby is 1 year old, because many food allergies disappear as your baby reaches 1 year.
Be on the lookout for allergies: When giving pear fruit for the first time, please be on the lookout for allergies. Generally, allergies occur around the face and lips. Lips could be swollen red. Apart from the face and lips, rashes can also appear on the body and importantly on the bottom appearing like nappy rashes. Do not neglect such allergic reactions, because in some cases, they can lead to anaphylactic shock and death. If you find such rashes, consult your doctor immediately.
How to select pear: If your baby isn’t allergic to pear, then you can select the best quality pear that you yourself would like to eat. Cut pear fruit into small pieces and try to mash it up. Babies can eat mashed up fruits very easily. You can include pear fruit at the time of breakfast and evening snack time. You may include pear during lunch, but it is totally up to you.