Spinach belongs to a class of vegetables that are nutritious and great source for vitamin C. While there has been much alarm about spinach and babies, nothing can be further from the truth. Spinach is safe for babies provided it is given at the right time preferably at the time when introducing solid food.
Spinach is quite safe for the babies as long as the baby being introduced to it is at least 6 months old. However, it is not the super iron-rich food like it was previously claimed by marketers. This is not to say that fresh spinach does contain iron, although it isn’t as high as had previously been thought.
It must also be noted that spinach contains the substance oxalates which does inhibit the body’s ability to absorb minerals including iron. It is thus a good idea to cook spinach and have it mixed with other vitamin C rich foods. Doing this helps the body to be able to absorb more of iron.
Spinach benefits to the baby
Spinach offers various benefits to the baby due to the fact that it has high concentrations of vitamin K as well as plant compounds called polyphenols. These nutrients are highly beneficial to human body. They help build healthy bones, improve blood circulation, and promote optimum cell function.
Spinach also contains some great amounts of Vitamin B that help to fuel your baby’s growth. It also contains plant-based antioxidants known as carotenoids which help to support your baby’s vision.
Spinach caution for your baby
Spinach contains nitrates which are naturally occurring plant compounds that may affect oxygen levels in the blood. This however can only happen when they are consumed in excess and this is why you should serve your baby spinach in moderation. Always avoid serving babies who are below 3 months spinach because are usually more susceptible to the effects of nitrates.
When cooking fresh leafy spinach for your baby, ensure that you wash them clean before cooking. Spinach and most other leafy green vegetables are often treated with poisonous pesticides. There is also the risk for E. coli infection from spinach but thorough washing and proper cooking helps reduce the risk.
Spinach doesn’t necessarily pose a choking hazard for babies although care must always be taken when serving any food to a baby. There is a possibility of flecks or raw or even cooked spinach sticking to your baby’s tongue. This therefore calls for much caution when introducing your baby to spinach.
Not much allergies have been reported with spinach, however babies who are allergic to latex have been found to be allergic to spinach also. Such allergies in spinach are never that serious to endanger the life your baby. Spinach is also naturally high in histamine and any baby who is sensitive to this substance may experience some reactions. Such reactions are however not life-threatening as long as spinach is served in small quantities.