Avocado For Babies – Health Benefits And Side Effects
Haven't you introduced avocados in your baby's diet yet? Here are a few reasons why avocado for babies is considered a great first food.
By Leena Ghosh
Are you looking for a food for your baby that is rich in healthy fats, proteins, essential vitamins and minerals? Then, your search ends with the super food called avocado. Originating in South Mexico thousands of years ago, this super fruit has since travelled to every corner of the world and is now easily available in every supermarket in the country.
Because of its nutritional properties, many mothers nowadays introduce avocado to their babies as one of the first foods. The following are the reasons why avocado is considered a healthy choice for babies.
Nutritional value of avocado
In 100g of avocado you can find:
- Calories: 160
- Total fat: 15g (including monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats)
- Carbohydrate: 9g
- Protein: 2g
- Sugar: 0.7g
- Dietary fiber: 6.7g
- Folate: 81mcg
- Vitamin A: 146.00 IU
- Vitamin C: 10mg
- Sodium: 7mg
- Magnesium: 21mg
- Potassium: 485mg
- Calcium: 12mg
Data based on USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) - National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
How to pick the right avocado for babies
An interesting fact about avocado is that, it doesn't ripen on the tree. The flesh begins to soften only after it has been plucked from the tree. Here are a few tips to choose a ripe avocado:
- Right colour: A ripe avocado is dark brown in colour with hints of green in it. If you want to buy a slightly raw avocado, go for one that is more green than brown.
- Right texture: A ripe avocado will yield to gentle pressure. So, to test the ripeness of the fruit — hold it in your hand and apply slight pressure. It should be firm to hold but the pressure should cause a slight dent on the surface. If the fruit is too soft, it's overripe. And, if it's very hard, it is raw.
- Colour of stem: Peel the stem or cap of the fruit. If it's green in colour, it's ripe for the taking. If it's brown, it may be too ripe.
Health benefits of avocados for babies
There are several benefits of avocado baby food. Here are some of them:
- Good for the brain: Avocado is considered to be a high fat plant food. This is because avocados have an abundance of monounsaturated oleic acid, a healthy fatty acid that is considered to be good for the mental and physical growth of a child.
- Good for the stomach: Avocados contain soluble fibre, which is good for the stomach and aids in digestion. 100g of avocado has 7g of fibre.
- Good for the heart: According to the study by Wang et al, ‘Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipoprotein Particle Number…,’ published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (2015), "...avocados have beneficial effects on cardio‐metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart‐healthy fatty acid profile." Avocados help reduce cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides, and increase good cholesterol.
- Good for the skin and hair: Avocados contain beta-carotene, which helps produce vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A boosts skin and hair health.
- Good for immunity: Avocados are not only rich in antioxidants but also aid in the absorption of antioxidants from other vegetables and fruits. Avocados when mixed in a salad help absorb nutrients from other plant foods. Antioxidants boost immunity and help prevent diseases.
- Good for eye health: Since avocados have high antioxidant content, they help improve eye health and lower the risk of eye diseases like cataract and macular degeneration later in life.
When can you start giving baby avocados?
Puréed avocado is a great food for babies when they start eating solids. This is because of the high fibre and low sugar content in avocados. According to a study by Comerford et al, 'The Role of Avocados in Complementary and Transitional Feeding', published in the journal Nutrients (2016), "avocados are nutritionally unique among fruits in that they are lower in sugar and higher in fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids than most other fruits, and they also have the proper consistency and texture for first foods with a neutral flavour spectrum."
For a 7 to 8-month-old baby, it's advisable to give avocado in the form of a purée. As the child grows up, the avocado pulp can be given in small cubes or be made into a salad.
Do you need to cook avocado for babies?
The great thing about avocado is that it can be served raw as well as cooked. The best way to introduce avocados to babies is to make a purée. You can add milk or water to get the desired consistency.
Avocado baby food recipe ideas
Avocado for a 7 to 8-month-old
- Avocado purée (mixed with water or milk)
- Avocado and banana purée (or mashed)
- Avocado and mango mash
- Avocado and peas purée
- Avocado and apple purée
- Avocado and boiled potato mash
- Avocado purée with boiled chicken stock
Avocado for a 9 to 11-month-old
- Avocado smoothie
- Avocado yogurt
- Avocado pasta
- Frozen avocado cubes
- Avocado mash fingers
Avocado for a 1-year-old
- Avocado sandwich
- Avocado banana pudding
- Boiled spaghetti with avocado and olive oil topping
- Mashed avocado on soft bread, cut into pieces
Avocado for a 2-year-old
- Avocado chocolate pudding
- Avocado vegetable salad
- Avocado fruit salad
- Avocado omelette
- Avocado cupcakes
- Avocado tacos
- Avocado muffins
Side effects of avocado
While avocado is a great food for babies, it can cause certain side effects. Here are some of the side effects you should watch out for:
- Allergic reaction: If your child is sensitive to latex, it is best to avoid giving avocados to him. Avocados have been known to cause allergic reactions like itching, sneezing, facial swelling and rashes. In some cases, a child could also have difficulty in breathing. Consult a doctor immediately if you see your child showing any of the above symptoms.
- Stomach irritation: In some cases, eating too much avocado may lead to stomach upsets. This could cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
It’s important to introduce new and healthy foods to your little one. And, healthy and tasty foods like avocados are always a great choice. However, children develop allergies to certain food items. So, it’s always a good idea to observe your child for 24 hours, once you have introduced any new food to her.
About the author:
Written by Leena Ghosh on 6 September 2019; updated on 15 October 2019
The author is a journalist, writer, editor and the mother of a spirited young girl. In between juggling the roles of being a full-time cheerleader for her daughter, a thorough professional and a part time chef, she dreams of finishing the first page of her unwritten book.
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