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Spices in Baby Food: The Benefits

Using spices in baby food seems to be a relatively new subject at the moment, and most people are reluctant to introduce spices into their little one’s diet due to the lack of ‘official’ advice available through health care services.

Don’t let this deter you however. If spices are not included within the ‘official’ advice, this does not imply you cannot use them within baby food. It is important to remember that these are only recommendations and guidelines. There are no solid procedures you must follow as a parent. So go ahead and throw out the rulebook!

Cooking baby food with the inclusion of aromatic spices has a number of distinct benefits including: giving parents the ability to offer a broader variety of food within a baby’s diet, helping to keep fussy eaters at bay; act as wonderful alternatives to adding salt and sugar in baby food making the food tastier when eaten; introducing spices in small amounts and gradually is a great way of preparing baby for family meals, particularly if your family meals are already quite spicy.

The benefits of spices don’t end here either; each spice has its own unique list of health benefits all members of the family can take advantage of:

  • Black Pepper – helps to settle indigestion, constipation, and reduce pain in toothaches.
  • Cardamom – prevents colds and flu (influenza), analgesic properties treat teeth and gums, throat infections, prevents flatulence, and treats asthma and bronchitis.
  • Cinnamon – analgesic properties to help reduce pain in toothaches, aids digestion, treats diarrhoea, strengthens the immune system to cure colds, boosts memory and cognitive function, balances blood sugar level (type 2 diabetes).
  • Cloves – antiseptic properties help to fight against colds and flu, bronchitis and athlete’s foot. Treats flatulence and boosts digestion. Analgesic properties reduce pain in toothaches, boost memory and blood circulation.
  • Coriander – aids digestion, treats diarrhoea, provides iron to help prevent anaemia, and protects skin against eczema and dryness.
  • Cumin – supports the development of a healthy immune system, improves oxygen distribution, betters digestion, boosts metabolism, and improves absorption of nutrients.
  • Paprika – antibiotic properties help protect against bacterial infections such as tonsillitis, improves blood circulation and aids digestion.
  • Turmeric – anti-bacterial properties help to prevent infection in wounds and cuts, aids digestion, reduce flatulence, boost immune system function for cold and flu protection and reduced risk of developing childhood leukaemia.

As you can see spices are extremely beneficial additions to baby food, not just for your little one but also for parents, leading to happy mealtimes all-round.

Article © Zainab Jagot Ahmed and Zainab Jagot Ahmed Indian Baby Food. 2012.

Photo by: LotusHead, http://www.pixelpusher.co.za

References

Antioxidants-for-Health-and-Longevity.com. 2009. Cumin Health Benefits Come from Antioxidants. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com/cumin-health-benefits.html [Accessed 11 January 2012]

Antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com. 2009. Health Benefits of Cloves Nature’s Top Antioxidant Food. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com/benefits-of-cloves.html [Accessed 11 January 2012]

Bennett, Coleman & Co. 2012. Use herbs, spices to keep cold at bay. The Times of India, [ONLINE] 9 January. Available at: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-09/kanpur/30607134_1_indian-spice-winter-ailments-cloves [Accessed 11 January 2012]

Chaturvedi TP. 2009. Uses of turmeric in dentistry: An update. Indian J Dent Res. [E-JOURNAL] 20 (1): 107-109. Available at:http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2009/20/1/107/49065[Accessed 4 October 2011]

Department of Health. 2011. NHS Introducing Solid Foods. Giving your baby a better start.in life. [PDF] Available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_125828.pdf [Accessed 22 November 2011]

Home Remedies Web.com. 2006. Cinnamon Health Benefits. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.homeremediesweb.com/cinnamon_health_benefits.php [Accessed 11 November 2011]

Jagetia GC and Aggarwal BB. 2007. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. [E-JOURNAL] 27 (1): 19-35. Available at: http://www.curcuminresearch.org/PDF/Jagetia%20GC-21.pdf [Accessed 2 October 2011]

Maternowski, T. 2011. Does Eating Pepper affect the unborn baby? Livestrong.com, [ONLINE] 28 March. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258605-does-eating-pepper-affect-the-unborn-baby/ [Accessed 12 October 2011]

Rajeshwari U and Andallu B. 2011. Medicinal benefits of coriander (Coriandrum Sativum L).Spatula DD. [E-JOURNAL] 1 (1), 51-58. Available at: http://www.scopemed.org/fulltextpdf.php?mno=2633 [Accessed 26 October 2011]

The George Mateljan Foundation. 2001. The World’s Healthiest Foods – Cumin Seeds. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91. [Accessed 11 January 2012]

Uher, P. 2010. Health benefits of cardamom. Helium, [ONLINE] 4 March. Available at: http://www.helium.com/items/1761448-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-the-spice-cardamom [Accessed 21 March 2012]

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