Turmeric for Babies – Benefits and Side Effects
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When babies start growing, one of the most important things parents need to think about is which foods we can feed their little ones. It is always good to have information about various food items that you can feed your baby, and also know when you can begin feeding him.
Among the Indian spices, turmeric is one of the most spoken about for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. As a parent, you’d think the sooner your start feeding turmeric to your baby, the sooner he will reap the benefits of this wonder spice. You also need to make sure how and when you can feed turmeric to your baby, or whether it has any side effects. But first, let’s talk a little bit about what turmeric is and its importance in the Indian cuisine and Indian culture.
Turmeric root comes from the turmeric plant, which is sundried or dehydrated in a machine and powdered. It is being used in India for centuries for various purposes as a spice, and also as a medicine. The spice is an important ingredient in most Hindu ceremonial activities too. Turmeric has nearly three hundred natural components which include beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, flavonoids, fibre, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and many other highly nutritional components.
Is Turmeric Safe for Infants?
Turmeric can be given to infants when they are nine months old. While introducing turmeric to a baby, it is important to start with a tiny amount (just a tiny pinch in the food should do). Too much turmeric can cause stomach problems.
When to Introduce Turmeric to Your Baby’s Diet
It is important to know when and how you can give turmeric to your infant. Please remember that feeding turmeric in any form to newborn babies is not safe. You can feed it to infants who can consume solid foods but not before that. You can add turmeric to your child’s diet from the time he is 6 months old, but the most recommended time is when he is 9 months old.
It is good to add natural ingredients to your baby’s diet right from when he is young, as this will go a long way. Hence, adding turmeric at the right time to your baby’s diet is absolutely fine.
You may also check with a paediatrician to confirm if your baby is ready to consume turmeric. And, when you start, keep a close eye on your baby to ensure he doesn’t have any reactions.
We all know why turmeric is consumed – for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. But, where and when does this magical spice help? Let’s take a look at the benefits of turmeric.
Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is one of the natural ingredients that can be applied externally and also consumed. Most of the uses and benefits that come from turmeric are from one of its major component called curcumin, the main active ingredient in the spice, which makes it a powerful antioxidant and also gives it its anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are some of the many benefits of turmeric:
1. Helps in Digestion
Turmeric can be added to your child’s diet to aid the production of bile and smoothen the process of digestion. It also provides relief from bloating.
2. Prevents Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Recent research has discovered that the component curcumin in turmeric can prevent Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
3. Natural Pain Killer
Curcumin in turmeric is known to reduce inflammation, and it also helps the adrenal gland to make more cortisone which is a natural painkiller.
4. Balances Cholesterol Levels
Research says that the yellow pigment in turmeric, also known as curcuminoids reduces LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol in our bodies. It also stops the oxidation of bad cholesterol, and thus reduces the chances of heart diseases.
5. Enhances the Skin
The curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant properties that help heal wounds and reduce inflammation. Applying a paste made of turmeric and milk on the baby’s skin can give him soft and glowing skin. The mixture is a great home remedy for eczema and other skin issues too.
6. Helps With Morning Sickness
Diluted/mild forms of turmeric consumed in small quantities can help with morning sickness. Turmeric has a spicy and sharp taste to it which helps in fighting nausea.
7. Fights Chemicals in the Body
Curcumin has the ability to neutralise free radicals and harmful chemicals that run in the body and attack the healthy cells and cell membranes. It thus helps build immunity.
Now that you know the benefits of consuming turmeric, here are some ways you can add it to your baby’s diet.
Ways to Add Turmeric to Your Baby’s Diet
Here are some ways you can feed turmeric to your baby. Please do remember that your child needs to be introduced to solid foods beforehand. If you see any signs of allergies, discontinue use and seek medical attention if required.
- Turmeric milk – Add a pinch of turmeric powder to a small cup of milk. Add some sugar if needed. Sugar should be avoided for babies under the age of 1-year-old.
- Soups – Add a pinch of turmeric to the soup preparations.Ensure you bring the soup to a boil before cooling and feeding it to your baby
- Khichadi or Dals – The tradition recipes of khichadi and dal have some amount of turmeric in them, but because the preparation is for your baby, add just a tiny bit.
- Mashed and pureed foods – Turmeric can also be added to baby foods like carrot puree, pumpkin puree, and mashed potatoes.
- Chicken – If you have introduced your baby to chicken, you may add a pinch of turmeric to it while it is cooking
It is always better for you to know the side effects of all the foods to ensure your baby does not develop any allergies or reactions. Although turmeric is one of most famous spices in our tradition that brings about healing, you might end up feeding it to your little one only to realise later, that you baby’s body is not ready for the spice. Here are some side effects you need to be aware of to ensure you seek medical attention immediately if needed.
Side Effects of Turmeric
Turmeric is definitely an ingredient to add to your little one’s diet after a certain age, but the spice could cause side effects too. Here are some of them:
- You need to figure out if your child is allergic to turmeric. Like many other food options, turmeric can also cause irritation and itchiness in the skin.
- Turmeric has many medicinal properties and is used to combat several health issues. However, using it alongside medication can cause serious problems at times.
Turmeric has definite benefits for both children and adults. Adding the spice to your food can increase its nutritional value. However, when it comes to your baby, you need to check if he can tolerate it. So, when you introduce the spice, ensure you check with a paediatrician and only then add a tiny bit of turmeric to one of your baby’s recipes to check if he can consume it without any issues.