Health Benefits of Asparagus for Babies
Is asparagus good for babies? When is the right time to start feeding your baby with asparagus? Which is the best way of cooking asparagus? If you are in search of answers for these questions then you are in the right place. Keep reading to find out more details about asparagus and its beneficial effects on babies.
Being a member of the lily family, asparagus, also known as garden asparagus is one of the most popular and “long-awaited” veggies of the spring season. The tender shoots of asparagus called spears are cultivated and harvested. Given the required conditions, asparagus spears can grow about 10 inches in 24 hours.
Asparagus is good not only for the health of babies but for adults as well. It is low in calories and contains lots of nutrients beneficial for the human organism. The plant is rich in potassium and folate, and if you buy extremely green asparagus then be sure of having a good source of vitamin C.
Asparagus Nutrients and Other Essentials
Let's now have a closer look at all the nutrients and vitamins that asparagus contains per 100g:
- Water – 93.2g
- Protein – 2.2g
- Carbohydrates – 3.88g
- Iron – 2.14mg
- Sugar – 1.88g
- Phosphorous – 52mg
- Sodium – 2mg
- Vitamin C – 5.6mg
- Folic acid – 52mcg
- Vitamin E – 1.13mg
- Energy – 20kcal
- Fats/Lipids – 0.12g
- Dietary Fiber – 2.1g
- Calcium – 24mg
- Magnesium – 14mg
- Potassium – 202mg
- Zinc – 0.54mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.091mg
- Vitamin A – 756 IU
- Vitamin K – 41.6mcg
The Best Time for Introducing Asparagus to Your Baby
Babies and their little organisms are extremely delicate and you should be careful in deciding the timing of introducing solid food to them. In fact, you will know when to do that exactly because babies themselves show the signs that they are ready for solid food. Such signals might be:
- Head control.
- Sitting confidently.
- Motions of chewing.
- Weight gain.
- Better appetite.
- Interest in mommy's food.
This happens when the baby is at least 4 months old. Though, it's generally considered that asparagus is not the best option for being the first vegetable of a baby. Despite the fact that asparagus can simply have no bad effects it is highly recommended to start giving it to your babies when they are already 8-10 months old. The main reason for this is that asparagus has the character of causing gas which can create difficulties in digestion.
However, there have been many babies that have started eating the plant earlier. This is very individual as it is dependent on the organism. In case of starting to give it to your baby earlier it's advised to puree it. If your baby doesn't show any symptoms of digestion problems then you have nothing to worry about. Though, if you are unsure, it's better wait till the baby reaches 8 moths of age.
The probability of developing any allergic reactions to asparagus is extremely low too. There are no other major issues related to the introduction of asparagus to your baby – it's healthy and nutrient.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Here is how your baby will benefit from eating asparagus:
- The vitamins A, C, K, E and the other nutrients listed above will contribute to the overall development and strength of the immune system of your baby.
- Liver protection will be raised to a higher level.
- The diuretic properties of asparagus will stimulate urine discharge. This is especially beneficial for babies who have urinary tract infections. Regular asparagus intake will protect the baby’s kidney and urinary tract.
- With asparagus the chances of your baby having night blindness or other ocular diseases decrease greatly.
- Vitamin K contained in asparagus will strengthen your child’s bones as well as will reduce the probability of the kid developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The Right Ways of Asparagus Selection and Preparation
When buying asparagus in a bunch look for one where the thickness of the spears of the plant are in balance so that the spears cook and be done simultaneously. If there are many thin spears in the bunch and some thick, then the former will become mushy while cooking as they require less time to be done while the thicker ones take relatively long to be cooked. Check the skin of the spears – it should be smooth and not dry, shriveled, limp or brown.
Another thing to pay attention to are the tips of asparagus: they should be firm. Don’t buy those with soft and mushy tips. Asparagus comes in three colours – green, white and purple. The taste doesn’t really change with the colour of the plant so you are free to buy whichever you prefer.
Storage tip: Asparagus is better to be stored upright with water at the base for 2-3 days. Don’t forget to rinse the plant carefully before cooking.
When preparing asparagus you should either start by peeling or snapping it. As you are going to give it to your baby it’s better to peel the plant as the baby might not be able to digest the peel properly. You can simply snap it when the baby has grown teeth.
There are many asparagus cooking methods which include:
- Steaming: When cooking cut the plant into pieces, boil it in a little amount of water for about 5-8 minutes till the spears are crisp yet tender.
- Frying pan: Put a strip of folded aluminum all over the pan, boil water then add the plant. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes till crisp-tender.
- Double Boiler: This is a method of asparagus steaming in an upright position. Make a bundle of your asparagus spears by means of a band of foil and put it in a double boiler that has boiling, beforehand salted water in it. The tips of the plant should be an inch or more above the water. Cover and let it cook for 5-8 minutes.
- Stir-frying: Cut the spears of asparagus diagonally making 0.5-inch pieces while leaving the tips whole. Stir-fry the chopped plant constantly in butter or oil for 3-5 minutes.
- Microwaving: When microwaving whole spears of asparagus, put them in a way that has the tips in center. Add a little water in a serving bowl and cover firmly. Microwave at 100% - keep in mind that spears need 4-7 minutes of microwaving to be done and the cuts and tips require some 3-5 minutes of cooking time.
All these methods of cooking asparagus can be freely employed as all of them will preserve the nutrients of the plant. Eat healthy and feed your baby only with the healthiest food by following our useful tips and instructions on asparagus and other food!
Guest post by Anna Aturyan from Reviewsbee.com