Avocados For Babies
More nutritious than an apple or a banana, even 1/4 of an avocado can give a 7- to 12-month baby a healthy bowel. A half can meet 100% of her folate and 86% of vitamin B6 requirement. Being a complete source of protein, it has the 10 essential amino acids a baby needs from food and also has minerals like potassium and magnesium. But give your baby avocado puree only after she crosses 6 months.
Let’s take a guess, you love avocados and you can’t wait for your baby to start loving it too, but you’ve heard that you shouldn’t feed her such a fatty fruit as avocado? Don’t worry. Avocados are good for your baby and are quite safe.
Nothing But Breast Milk For The First 6 Months
Breast milk is the only food your baby should be given for the first six months. The baby’s digestive system is hardly developed to digest and absorb other foods and she can get all the essential nutrition from the mother’s milk in an easily digestible form.
Start With Avocados After Your Baby Crosses 6 Months
Once she crosses the six-month milestone, as per the dietary guidelines for children and adolescents developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council, you can begin to wean her off breast milk by introducing easy-to-digest semisolid and solid foods.1 Transition from breast milk to foods that are watery-textured, like watery puree, then lumpy puree, and finally soft finger foods. The solids that you introduce now will play a crucial role in her development, apart from helping your munchkin learn to chew with those bare gums. Avocados fit the bill of mild-flavored buttery lumpy puree that your baby can eat without trouble.
Your baby will also need vital nutrients like iron, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins B3 and E from complementary foods, along with iron-fortified cereals, vitamin D supplements, and vitamin E oils from various dietary sources.2 And happily for you, avocados can meet these requirements.
Avocados Can Meet Your Baby’s Nutrition Need
Avocado has emerged a clear winner, trumping even apples and bananas, the fruits popular among kids, when it comes to providing maximum nutrition to infants. Unlike the other fruits, it is low in sugar, with less than 1 g per serving, which is by far the lowest among all other fruits, and high fiber and good fatty acid content.
What’s more, just an ounce or 30 g of this fruit is richer in key developmental nutrients such as folate, vitamin E, and lutein compared with other fruits.3
It Has The Good Kind Of Fats
Avocados are a good source of linoleic acid, which helps in your baby’s growth and protects her against infections.
Yes, avocados are full of fat, but it’s all the healthy kind. About 100 g of the fresh fruit yields 15–30 g oil, that is mainly monounsaturated and is a good source of the essential fatty acid linoleic acid.4
A 4-year-long study on 428 infants way back in 1963 found that infants who received a diet low in linoleic acid had a slower growth rate. Their skin was dry, sometimes even peeling off, and eventually became thick. Later, the infants had inflammation and rashes in their skin folds, a condition known as intertrigo. They were also more susceptible to bacterial skin infection, such as infections caused by staphylococcus.5
Avocado is a good source of healthy fat and is highly beneficial for children in the age group of 12 to 24 months.6
It Yields Twice As Much Protein As Most Other Fruits
Avocados have all the 10 essential amino acids.
Protein is an essential nutrient for growth. Yielding 2 g protein per 100 g of its weight, avocado gives about twice as much or even more protein than fruits like bananas (1.1 g) and apple (0.3 g).7
It has 18 of the 20 amino acids required for proper growth. And among these 18, it has all the 10 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce and must get from dietary sources.8
It Has A Lot Of Fiber
Just a quarter of an avocado has enough fiber to give your baby a healthy bowel.
While no value has yet been set for the amount of fiber infants below 1 year of age need daily, Australian nutritionist Lisa Yates states that for a 7–12-month-old baby, a quarter of an avocado or about 60 g ensures enough fiber for healthy bowels, with 100 g of the fruit containing 7 g fiber.9
You would, however, have to increase the dose or supplement avocados with other fiber sources to meet the 19 g per day requirement for infants from 1 to 3 once your child reaches 1.10
It Has Most Of The Vitamins Your Baby Needs
Half an avocado gives as much folate as your baby needs daily and meets 86% of vitamin B6 requirement.
Avocados contain vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and five B vitamins. Going by the nutrient values provided by the USDA’s nutrition analysis of avocados,11, ideally, 100 g of an avocado,which is about half a fruit, meet your 7- to 12-month-old baby’s adequate intake (AI) quota in the following percentages:
- 22 percent of thiamin (AI = 0.3 mg), which is required for growth and development of cells and in energy metabolism12
- 32.5 percent of riboflavin (AI=0.4 mg), which helps in releasing energy during metabolic processes13
- 43 percent of niacin (AI = 4 mg), which helps in energy metabolism14
- 86 percent of vitamin B6 (AI = 0.3 mg), which helps in protein metabolism15
- 100 percent of folate (AI = 80 mcg), essential for the growth of the cells in the body and for the formation of red blood cells16
- 20 percent of vitamin C (AI = 50 mg), which forms and repairs red blood cells and strengthens the immunity17
- 41 percent of vitamin E (AI = 5 mg), which is an antioxidant and helps boost immunity18
It Has Some Important Minerals
Avocado is one of the rare foods that have more potassium than sodium, which makes it healthy for the heart.
Avocados are a good source of minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and some amount of iron. A 100 g serving of avocado can meet:
- 38 percent of your baby’s daily requirement of magnesium,19 which is required for protein synthesis and communication between cells
- 19 percent phosphorus,20 which is required for bone health and energy production
- 12.5 percent zinc,21 which is needed for protein synthesis and in immune function.
Avocados also have more potassium than sodium, which is essential to keep your baby’s heart healthy, and the potassium can meet 69 percent of your baby’s daily need.
It’s Safe Unless You Have A History Of Latex Allergy
So unless you or your partner has a history of latex allergy, which can also trigger avocado allergy and could get passed on to your child, the fruit is completely safe for your baby.
How To Feed Your Baby
Now that you know there is no other fruit like avocado when it comes to infant nutrition, the best way to feed your baby is by pureeing the fruit or mashing it. For older children who know to spit the food they don’t like, make it likable by making this delectable smoothie with bananas.
Avocado And Banana Smoothie
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- 1 fresh avocado, peeled and de-seeded
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
- 2 cups milk, cold or room temperature
- 4-5 ice cubes
Blend avocado with banana and honey in a blender until smooth and frothy. Add vanilla powder, milk, and ice. Blend for a minute. Serve fresh.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||National Health and Medical Research Council. Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia|
|2.||↑||Infant Nutrition. Nutrition Australia|
|3.||↑||Comerford, Kevin B., Keith T. Ayoob, Robert D. Murray, and Stephanie A. Atkinson. “The Role of Avocados in Complementary and Transitional Feeding.” Nutrients 8, no. 5 (2016): 316.|
|4.||↑||Naveh, Einat, Moshe J. Werman, Edmond Sabo, and Ishak Neeman. “Defatted avocado pulp reduces body weight and total hepatic fat but increases plasma cholesterol in male rats fed diets with cholesterol.” The Journal of nutrition 132, no. 7 (2002): 2015-2018.|
|5.||↑||Hansen, Arild E., Hilda F. Wiese, Arr Nell Boelsche, Mary Ellen Haggard, Doris JD Adam, and Helen Davis. “Role of Linoleic Acid in Infant Nutrition. Clinical and Chemical Study of 428 Infants Fed on Milk Mixtures Varying in Kind and Amount of Fat.” Pediatrics 31, no. 1 (1963): 171-192.|
|6.||↑||Infant Nutrition. Government of Canada|
|7.||↑||Naveh, Einat, Moshe J. Werman, Edmond Sabo, and Ishak Neeman. “Defatted avocado pulp reduces body weight and total hepatic fat but increases plasma cholesterol in male rats fed diets with cholesterol.” The Journal of nutrition132, no. 7 (2002): 2015-2018.|
|8.||↑||Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28|
|9.||↑||Yates, Lisa. Avocado – baby’s first food. Australian Avocados.|
|10.||↑||Turner, Nancy D., and Joanne R. Lupton. “Dietary fiber.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 2, no. 2 (2011): 151-152.|
|11.||↑||Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28|
|12.||↑||Thiamin. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|13.||↑||Riboflavin. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|14.||↑||Niacin. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand|
|15.||↑||Vitamin B6. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|16.||↑||Folate. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|17.||↑||Vitamin C. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|18.||↑||Vitamin E.The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|
|19.||↑||Magnesium. Oregon State University|
|20.||↑||Phosphorus. Oregon State University|
|21.||↑||Zinc. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health|