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Once your baby reaches the 6-months mark and is ready to start on solids, as a parent, you will want to introduce new foods to him each week, if not days. While mashed dal and rice and pureed vegetables will be your first choice, as it should be, you might consider adding certain fruits in his diet. Fruits are healthy and nutritious and can be beneficial for his health, but then again, not all fruits will be safe for consumption, especially for babies under 1 year of age. This article will help you understand if you can give dragon fruit to your little one. Dragon fruit is known for its nutritional value and rich taste. Find out if it’s safe for babies.
Should You Give Dragon Fruit to Your Baby?
Dragon fruit is a good source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C, iron and calcium. It is also rich in fibre, which improves bowel movement and smoothens digestion. Although it is advisable to wait up to a year, some mothers introduce dragon fruit as early as 6 months to their babies and they handle it well unless they are allergic to it.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit for Babies
Let’s find out how eating dragon fruit can benefit your baby:
1. May Help Strengthen the Immune System
Dragon fruit contains antioxidants, which can help protect the cell membranes from any kind of damage caused by free radicals. The antioxidants present in the dragon fruit may also strengthen your little’s one immune system and thus make him less prone to catching infections.
2. May Protect the Heart
Dragon fruit has nutrients that promote heart health in infants and adults. Including dragon fruit in his diet will be good for his heart health.
3. May Help Strengthen the Bones
Abundant in calcium and phosphorous, dragon fruit can assist in bone development. Phosphorous combined with phenolic and flavonoid compounds can improve bone density, thus making bones strong. It may also help ward off diseases such as rickets in childhood and arthritis later on. Dragon fruit is also a powerhouse of Vitamin C which is essential for many of the bodily processes. It is needed for growth and development of bones, muscles and skin and aid in the development of the circulatory system. It can also boost immunity and prevent deficiency diseases like scurvy.
4. May Help Improve Digestion
Fibre is necessary for the healthy movement of the bowel and to maintain the digestive tract. It also stabilizes the sugar content and can help a child feel full and promote a healthy weight gain. The high roughage content in the fruit also avoids constipation.
5. May Improve Eye Health
An essential nutrient, Vitamin A is needed for healthy eyes and good skin. Dragon fruit is a rich source of Vitamin A, and can help in building immunity and sharpen the vision.
6. May Help Prevent Anaemia
Dragon fruit is wonderful in boosting red blood cell count as it is rich in iron. This prevents anaemia, a deficiency disease which can lead to many developmental disorders in infants. The rich iron content is also essential in promoting the healthy growth of hair.
7. May Ensure Proper Functioning of the Nervous System
The phosphorous, sodium and calcium content in dragon fruit can ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system. This means the baby develops good motor and sensory skills.
8. May Promote Healthy Skin
Vitamin C is essential for building and repairing skin. Dragon fruit, which is a rich source of Vitamin C can help in maintaining the texture and tenderness of your baby’s skin.
Precautions to Take Before Feeding Dragon Fruit to an Infant
Just like any other food that you introduce to your child, the first and the foremost thing you will have to check is if your child is allergic to it. When feeding dragon fruit to your munchkin, first, feed a tiny portion of the fruit and watch out for allergic reactions such as rashes or swelling in the mouth or lips. Sometimes foods can irritate the digestive tract and cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and bloating.
The fruit needs to be washed thoroughly as they can contain traces of pollen which can cause allergies. Since dragon fruit has a good amount of vitamin C, they are also a little high on the acidic side. This can irritate the stomach of babies and hence the fruit must only be started with other more neutral foods. When in doubt, consult your child’s paediatrician.
How to Add Dragon Fruit to Your Baby’s Diet
Once your baby has started eating solids, dragon fruit is pretty easy to serve; all you need to do is cut it in half and scoop out the inner flesh which is the edible part and remove for the seeds. A good starting point is the red dragon fruit for baby as they are more delicious than the white ones. If your baby likes its taste, he is more likely to eat it without making a fuss. So start with the red dragon fruit first. Dragon fruit can also be served as a puree or with other fruits such as blueberries, apples, cranberries and peaches. It goes well with yoghurt too and is used in some preparation of chicken dishes.
How to Make Dragon Fruit Puree for Babies
Dragon fruit puree can provide relief from constipation and ease bowel movement and give all the essential nutrients a baby needs for his growth. Here’s how to prepare dragon fruit for your baby:
What you Need
To make dragon fruit puree, you need:
- 1 cup chopped dragon fruit
- 1-2 tablespoon sugar
How to Make
Take the chopped dragon fruit in a blender jar. Add sugar and water to it and blend until smooth. You could filter out the seeds with a sieve if there are any large ones left after blending. Serve immediately.
Dragon fruit tastes delicious and can be beneficial for your little one’s health. But before including it in your baby’s diet you must make sure he is not allergic to it. Better yet, consult a paediatrician or a nutritionist before you introduce dragon fruit or any other new food in your little one’s diet.