Some of the health benefits of pine nuts include rich reserves of Vitamin A, lutein both of which are known to improve your baby’s vision. They also contain monounsaturated fat which are good for your baby’s heart health. Its Vitamin D content helps in building stronger teeth and bones in your baby. Pine nuts are rich sources of Vitamin C and can effectively boost your child’s immunity. The protein and magnesium in pine nuts makes them an excellent source of energy. They are a good source of iron, which is good news for your baby’s circulatory and nervous systems.
What are Pine Nuts and when can you introduce them to your baby?
Pine nuts are the small edible seeds of the female cone of the pine tree. Pine kernels are, indeed, very good source of plant derived nutrients, essential minerals, vitamins and “heart friendly” mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help in reducing cholesterol levels in your baby’s blood.
Pine nuts like other tree nuts are definitely high on the list of foods that can be highly allergenic to children below the age of 4. It is best to wait till your baby has started having solids before introducing pine nuts. In case you are yourself allergic to pine nuts, or if there is one in the family history, you must exercise great caution. Having a pine nut allergy yourself or in the family history increases your baby’s chances of having one too.
It is best to hold off introducing pine nuts to your baby till he or she is at least one year old. At this point their digestive system will be able to handle them better. You should also make sure that the nuts are properly chopped up and even ground up to make sure that they can eat them properly. You don’t have to go out of your way to give your baby nuts, and you should make sure to test them individually each time a new type of nut is introduced.
Pine nuts can be choking hazards, so be sure to chop them into appropriate sizes or grind them into butter or milk before serving to your toddler.
Health Benefits of Pine Nuts for Children
Apart from its crunchy and delicious taste pine nuts have also been popular for their health benefits from the Paleolithic times. Pine kernels are a good source of several essential nutrients. It contains Vitamin A, B, C, D and E. It is an excellent source of B complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate and pyridoxine. Pine nuts are rich in minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, selenium and iron. They are rich sources of pinolenic and oleic acid that are very beneficial for the stimulation of hormones.
Lets look at some of the health benefits of pine nuts for your babies
Provides Energy for your baby: Pine nuts are an excellent option for healthy evening snacking for your child in place of the oily and sugary processed market bought options. It contains protein that provides an instant source of energy. It also helps to repair and build the muscle tissues. Protein is a slow burning fuel that provides a long lasting energy boost which does not result in burnout. It also helps to improve your baby’s body’s use of oxygen, increasing the energy levels.
Improves eye health: Pine nuts contain beta-carotene and antioxidants, which are very beneficial for the health of the eyes. Lutein in pine nuts helps the eyes to filter UV light, preventing macular damage. Having pine nuts can help your baby in having sharper vision and healthy eyesight.
Improves cardiovascular health: Pine nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol in the blood. Regular consumption of pine nuts by your child increases good cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol in his or her body. Oleic acid in pine nuts helps the liver to remove triglycerides from your baby’s body. It also favors a healthy blood lipid profile which can help in preventing coronary artery diseases and strokes later on in life.
Promotes Skin health in your Baby: Vitamin E present in pine nuts is required for maintaining the integrity of the cell membranes. It also protects your baby’s sensitive skin from the harmful UV rays. The emollient properties of pine nut oil keep your child’s skin well moisturized and helps promote healthy and glowing skin.
Antioxidants: Pine nuts are extremely high in antioxidants. These antioxidants kill free radicals present in your baby’s body that encourage the development of cancer and other types of diseases. It also helps your child’s body to develop resistance against infectious agents and viruses.
Safety Points to remember about giving your baby Pine Nuts
The most common side effect of pine nuts is the pine mouth syndrome. Regular consumption of pine nuts leaves a bitter after taste in the mouth. It appears after a few days of consumption and lasts over a week. The side effect is not harmful and does not lead to any difference in the quality and nutrition of pine nuts.
Pine nut allergy may also occur in hypersensitive people. The reactions include vomiting, abdomen pain, diarrhea and skin itching.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby especially tree nuts such as pine nuts which are known to trigger allergic reactions.