New parents are often on the lookout for different ways, especially those that are natural, to take care of their baby’s health and nutrition. They also worry about the safety of giving anything and everything to their babies even though they knew it is healthy. If you are not sure incorporating garlic to your baby’s diet, or how to when to introduce garlic for babies, this article will help you. Continue reading to understand more about the health benefits of garlic for babies, a most popular ingredient in almost all type of cuisine not only due to its strong flavor but also due to its medicinal value.
When Can Babies Have Garlic?
Here is an interesting fact. Babies start to consume garlic way before they start solid food! Wondering how? If you are consuming garlic while breastfeeding, the flavor of garlic gets into the breast milk thereby changing the flavor of breast milk as well. Most babies love this flavor. However, if the baby is experiencing any discomfort due to ingesting garlic, you will be able to see it soon enough. Doctors recommend parents to wait until after six months of age to introduce garlic to the baby in solid form. Whether it is in the oatmeal or cereal, the extra taste is going to interest your child for sure.
Nutritional Value Of Garlic
Garlic contains Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, and B6, Zinc, Potassium, and Selenium. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and copper. It also contains sulfur compounds which are highly beneficial.
Is Garlic Safe For Babies?
Even though one should not overlook the chances of garlic allergy (which is very rare), introducing garlic to babies after six months is counted not only safe but also beneficial for them in various aspects. However, start introducing this strongly flavored herb in a small amount in their diet.
Health Benefits Of Garlic
There are many benefits of garlic left to be added to the above list.
1. Garlic Keeps Away Stomach Worms
Infections of various kinds are caused by worms that enter the baby’s body. Instead of turning to medicines filled with chemicals, you can use garlic to get rid of the worms.
2. Fight The Cold With Garlic
Garlic has long been used to treat colds and coughs in the form of teas etc. Erratic weather conditions can lead to your baby catching a cold. But do not worry, garlic brings your tiny one’s respiratory tract back on track and works against the virus causing the cold with the oils present in it and its antimicrobial tendencies.
3. Garlic Boosts The Immune System
There are certain cells and substances produced in the body that keep our immune system working and in full swing. Garlic stimulates their formation and secretion.
They include lymphocytes, dendritic cells, eosinophils, and cytokine.
4. Garlic Is Good For The Heart
Garlic is packed with numerous nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop. It has properties that keep the baby’s heart healthy in a way that in the long term, heart-related issues like attacks and strokes are less likely to happen. It keeps cholesterol in check, too.
5. Garlic Keeps The Baby’s Body Strong
The nutrients that garlic is rich in leads to the increase of hemoglobin, maintain bone and muscle health, development and strength, and help in the repair of tissues, all these keep your baby strong, fit, and active.
How Much Garlic Is Safe?
Since it has a strong flavor, even a little bit of garlic goes a long way. So, babies should ideally be fed garlic in amounts less than an adult. One precaution you should take while introducing new foods to babies is to give a gap of three to four days in between. This allows the food enough time to be completely digested and absorbed by the body. Secondly, add these foods to the dishes your child has already been eating and enjoying for a while.
Both these precautions should be taken so that you can observe if your child is allergic to any of those foods and be able to pinpoint which food it is, exactly as well.
How to Select, Store And Use Garlic?
At your local grocery store or the vegetable market, you will find heaps of garlic.
Garlic doesn’t have to be stored in the fridge. In fact, it is recommended that you keep it in room temperature and away from moisture. Moisture brings in the mold and that is going to ruin your entire stash. Always use fresh garlic for cooking dishes for your child rather than powdered forms available in the market.
Care should be taken to select garlic that is fresh, clear, and juicy. Add garlic to the dish while cooking so that the entire flavor is incorporated, and so that its rawness is also removed. Also, it is recommended to keep aside the crushed fresh garlic for 10 minutes before cooking.
An extremely garlicky taste can put off your baby from the food too. Therefore you should try to balance it out while cooking
Garlic Recipes for Babies
We will look at two simple and easy to follow recipes with garlic as the main ingredient.
In states across India, rasam is made to ease colds, sore throats, or just as a part of Sunday lunch.
The ingredients you need are cumin seeds, black pepper, water, salt, oil, tomatoes and of course, garlic.
Directions: Set aside pepper, cumin seeds, and garlic after cooking them together in oil on high flame. Now, boil the tomatoes for ten minutes. Allow them to cool down for a bit. Strain well to remove the skins. Take both the preparations and mix well. Add salt to taste. Your child can have this as a soup or can eat it with rice. Unlike you made rasam for adults, add less pepper when you prepare rasam for babies
2. Palak Khichdi
The thing about this recipe is that not only it uses garlic, but you also get to feed your baby palak in a very tasty way. Palak is quite useful for babies as it contains iron and other important and necessary minerals for the baby’s adequate growth and development.
The ingredients you need are rice (half cup), ghee, finely cut palak, turmeric, cumin seeds, two cloves of garlic and one-fourth cup of Toor Dal.
Directions; To make this fairly simple khichdi, first soak the dal and rice for around thirty to forty minutes. Then, use the pressure cooker to soften and cook it with turmeric for four to five whistles.
In a pan, add garlic when the ghee and cumin seeds start to crackle. To this, add the chopped palak and mix well.
When you see that the palak has been cooked sufficiently, empty the cooker into this mixture.
Let it cook for a while. You can take out the garlic if necessary before you serve.
Nature has an abundance of food materials that are healthy for your baby. Garlic is one of them. Make sure you follow the instructions and use in a guided way to achieve all the benefits.