Some of the health benefits of salsify, also known as vegetable oyster, include high nutrient content, rich in fiber, antioxidant properties, healthy levels of minerals, help in maintaining strong bones, teeth, and connective tissue for your child. Salsify also contains good amount of potassium which helps in controlling the heart rate and blood pressure of in your baby by countering the effects of sodium.
From when can I introduce salsify to my child’s diet?
Salsify is a root vegetable belonging to the dandelion family. It is also known as the oyster plant due to its oystery taste when cooked. It looks similar to a parsnip, with thick skin and creamy white flesh. As with other root vegetables, salsify can be mashed, boiled or used in stews and soups. Young salsify can be eaten raw, thinly sliced and included in salads.
You can ideally introduce salsify in your baby’s diet once he or she has been weaned off breast milk and has started solids. Salsify is quite complimentary with peas and carrots and you can introduce the vegetable along with others in your baby’s vegetable mash. When your baby is about 6-8 months old you can start including boiled and mashed salsify along with other vegetable mashes in your child’s meals. For children who are a bit older you can try incorporating salsify into pastas or sauteed in butter.
Health Benefits of salsify for your child
Along with the consumption as a food, it provides numerous benefits which helps to enhance the overall health of your child. Salsify helps to enhance the immune system, maintains blood pressure, enhance hair growth, digestive health, promotes circulation, metabolism and increases the mineral density of bones.
Helps develop your baby’s digestive system: Salsify is great source of dietary fiber which is vital for your child’s digestive system to function properly. It is also very useful in treating constipation, preventing gastrointestinal problems, and promoting bowel movement in your child. Also, much of the fiber is in the form of inulin, a rare prebiotic helpful for the proliferation of bifidobacteria. This may help enhance nutrition absorption. Inulin (not insulin) is a natural, soluble inert complex polysaccharide present in salsify roots. Inulin acts as prebiotic, help absorb minerals and regulate blood sugar levels, control obesity and ease constipation problems.
Promotes Circulation: The presence of high amounts of iron and copper in salsify helps to improve the circulation in your child and assists in the production of red blood cells. Reb blood cells help in the transportation of oxygen to the tissues and organs in your baby’s body as well as the follicle beds. Proper circulation in turn leads to better hair growth in your child. In addition the copper present in salsify helps to increase hair strength and reduces chances of premature aging at a later stage.
Enhances you baby’s immunity: Fresh salsify roots are also good in vitamin-C and provide about 8 mg or 13% of RDA. Vitamin C along with other vitamins and minerals present in salsify promotes the metabolic functionality and efficiency in your little one’s body by assisting the immune system. Vitamin C vitalizes the white blood cells, Vitamin B acts as antioxidants and Vitamin B increases the enzyme functions in order to regulate the hormones.
Helps promote brain health of your child: Salsify contains rich reserves of vitamin b6 which is known to enhance the function and development of your baby’s brain. Lack of vitamin b6 in your child’s body may lead to cognitive impairment and influence the function of memory. It also controls the level of homocystein that can lead to heart diseases as well as damage your baby’s central nervous system. Vitamin b6 is needed to control the levels of the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine that control your child’s energy, mood, and concentration. If your child shows symptoms of learning and behavioral disorder then you can introduce salsify as a source of vitamin B6 in his or her diet.
Maintains your child’s bone health : Salsify is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper which is vital for the formation of mineral base to develop bone tissue of your baby. Vitamin C is crucial for the creation process of bones in your toddler’s body. The adequate presence of mineral density in bones helps to prevent the age related conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis at a later date.
Superb source of manganese: Manganese present on salsify is important for many enzymes that control your baby’s blood sugar, metabolism, and thyroid function. One cup of salsify accounts for 18 percent of the recommended value of manganese. Deficiencies in manganese could be associated with growth retardation, and general weakness in your toddler.
Storing, preparing and precautions to taken while feeding salsify to your baby
The root vegetable is generally available round the year and can be even grown in your own home garden with a little care. Fresh salsify roots can stay well inside the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. But it is best to consume the roots within a week. Preparing salsify can take some time as it is important for you to scrub the root under running cold water in order to remove any traces of soil and possible bacteria from the soil.
It is very important to remember to always peel the black skin of the root prior to including it in your child’s food. To prevent oxidation of the root once it is peeled you can use vinegar or lemon juice. Peeling can be easier when the root is boiled.
Excess consumption of salsify root in food may cause stomach ache, bloating, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea in your baby. Inulin also elicits hypersensitivity reactions, itching and redness in some sensitive children. Salsify root may cause hypersensitivity reactions like contact dermatitis and oral allergy syndrome (OAS). If your children have known history of allergy to taproots you should avoid salsify.