Is Cabbage Good for Babies? Know Its Health Benefits, Side Effects and Recipes

Is Cabbage Good for Babies? Know Its Health Benefits, Side Effects and Recipes

Cabbage is a vegetable of the cruciferous vegetable family and a good source of various nutrients. Cabbage is widely consumed in over the world in various forms: it is included in soups, khichadi, and mixed veggies and even consumed raw. Cabbage also goes into soups and dishes that are simmered for babies. As an adult, cabbage must be a part of your diet and you must be eating it every week or every alternate week, but when it comes to your little one, you must be thinking twice before including it in his diet. While cabbage is very nutritious, it is also known to cause gas. If your baby has started on solids and you’re thinking of feeding him cabbage, find out when is the right time to introduce it. Also, learn about the health benefits this vegetable for your little one.

Nutritional Value of Cabbage

Cabbage comes with a variety of essential nutrients that do not vary too much even when the type of cabbage varies. The most common types of cabbage are green, red cabbage, white, spring greens and napa cabbage. Since the most commonly consumed type is the green cabbage this nutritional table is based on it. Here is the nutritional profile of one cup (100g) of cabbage.

Nutrient

Amount

Energy

23 Kcal

Carbohydrate

4.13g

Dietary fibre

1.42g

Water

92.57g

Calcium

48mg

Sodium

8mg

Potassium

196 mg

Magnesium

15mg

Phosphorus

33 mg

Vitamin C

37.5mg

Vitamin A

80IU

Vitamin K

108.7 µg

 

Table Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169976/nutrients

When to Introduce Cabbage to Babies

Cabbage can be introduced to babies as soon as they turn 8 months of age. Just like all the solids you feed them around this age, cabbage should also be cooked well and given in pureed form so that the baby can easily swallow and digest it. If you’re worried that your baby will have gas on eating cabbage, then don’t include the large rib that separates the cabbage down the middle in the dishes you prepare for your little one. Ideally, steam the cabbage and mash it up with other vegetables so they are not leafy and crunchy when your baby takes a bite.

Benefits of Cabbage for Babies

Cabbage is high in fibre and all the essential nutrients making it a superfood for all age groups. Therefore the answer to the question can babies eat cabbage is yes! Here are the benefits of cabbage for babies:

1. Good for Digestive Health

Cabbage is an excellent source of dietary fibre which is essential for a good bowel movement. This helps eliminate toxins from building up in the gut and prevents constipation in babies. Cabbage also contains a compound called glucosinolates which can be hydrolyzed by certain bacteria in the intestine to use prebiotics. Prebiotics is essential for maintaining the microbial flora in the gut.

2. Good for the Heart

As per studies, people who consume steamed vegetables regularly from the Brassica family which includes cabbage enjoy the cardioprotective benefits of the vegetable. It is found that the compound glucosinolate is responsible for a reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. These effects are essential in promoting good heart health which is beneficial in the long run.

3. Strengthens the Immune System

The presence of compounds known as anthocyanins in high quantities especially in red cabbage is known to have immunomodulatory properties which have a great influence on the immune system. The same compound has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help boost immunity. The better bowel movement also ensures there’s lesser inflammation in the digestive tract which leads to improved immunity.

Side Effects of Consuming Too Much Cabbage

While cabbage has plenty of health benefits it can also have some side effects for little ones as their immune system is still developing. Here are some side effects that your little one may experience on eating cabbage:

1. Flatulence

This is one of the most common side effects of eating cabbage in both adults and children. Gas in babies can cause discomfort and pain and get much worse if your little one has colic. Since all varieties of cabbage are known to cause gas, it should be introduced carefully.

2. Allergies

Food allergies are common for all babies and although cabbage allergy is rare, if you have a genetic history of allergies to vegetables in the Brassica family such as cabbages, kale, and broccoli there’s a good chance your baby can have it as well. In such a case it’s essential to consult the paediatrician before feeding cabbage to your little one.

3. Suppress the Functioning of the Thyroid Hormone

Raw cabbages along with a few other vegetables in their raw form can interfere with iodine absorption and suppress the functioning of the thyroid gland. This can be highly detrimental to the mental development and growth of your baby. Therefore avoid feeding raw cabbage to your baby.

4. Affect the Development of the Baby

Cabbage along with a few other vegetables has the enzyme thiaminase which can break down thiamin (Vitamin B1) making it inactive. Vitamin B1 is also an essential nutrient for the proper physical and mental development of babies. However, cooking baby cabbage can destroy the enzyme and is, therefore, a strong reason not to feed cabbage to your baby in the raw form.

5. Anti-Mineral Properties

Cabbage is also a source of oxalic acid which is an inorganic salt that can bind with essential minerals such as calcium rendering them insoluble. When they become insoluble they are no longer available for absorption for the body. Therefore avoid giving too much cabbage to your baby. Moderation is the key to keep it at healthy levels.

6. Blue Baby Syndrome

The blue baby syndrome is characterized by pale skin and lips that turn blue. It occurs when the haemoglobin in the blood is not able to supply sufficient oxygen to the tissues in the body turning them blue. Consumption of vegetables high in nitrates can cause this condition in babies. While all cabbages have nitrates, the Chinese cabbage has been strongly associated with the condition, therefore, avoid this variety when you’re feeding your baby.

Healthy Cabbage Recipes for Babies

If your baby isn’t allergic to cabbage and experiences no side effects on eating cabbage, then you can feed him cabbage without worries. Here are two cabbage recipes that are perfect for introducing them to the vegetable:

1. Cabbage and Carrot Puree

Carrot and cabbage puree is the simplest recipe to get your baby started on cabbages without having to worry about gas. Served as a midday snack, it is tasty and adds the sweetmeats and mildness of the carrot to balance the cabbage.

Cabbage and carrot puree

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup chopped cabbages
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • A small pinch of pepper
  • One teaspoon of unsalted butter
  • A small pinch of salt

Method 

  • Cook the two vegetables together in the butter.
  • Once they are cooked well and cool down, blend them.
  • Serve in pureed form.

2. Cabbage and Lentil Soup

This is a good tasty snack for your toddler who has is used to eating cabbages.

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups of mixed vegetables of your choice
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 28 oz canned tomatoes (peeled)
  • ½ cup chopped cabbage
  • 2 cups cooked green lentils
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water

Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and add onions and fry until golden brown.
  • Add in the basil and garlic and cook until it turns aromatic.
  • Add in the cabbage, vegetables, and tomatoes, and water and boil.
  • Let it simmer for 25-30 minutes until it is all mushy and the cabbage is tender.
  • Add in the lentils and simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Allow the mix to cool and blend it until it reaches a soupy consistency.
  • Add salt and pepper for taste and mix well. Serve warm.

Cabbages are great foods to include in your baby’s diet once they start on solids. It’s essential to feed only cooked cabbage and avoid raw forms. Most cabbages are suitable however green and red cabbage for baby is better from a nutritional and safety standpoint.

Also Read:

Is Corn for Infants Healthy?
Is Pomegranate Good For Your Infant?
Health Benefits Of Cauliflower for Infants