Apricots are popular for their delicious taste and smell. These wonder fruits can be enjoyed as both fresh or dried. They have a unique sweet taste and immense health benefits. Little wonder they were called ‘food medicine’, by Greek physicians. But are these fruits good for babies? Read our post and find out below.
Apricot – The Wonder Fruit:
‘Prunus armenaica’ or Apricot or ‘Khurbani’ as known in the Indian sub-continent, is one of the richest foods known to mankind. Apricots are small drupes and resemble peaches or plums, when fresh. Although the origin of this wonder fruit is disputed, the name suggests that apricots were first cultivated in what is modern day Armenia. It is also said that they originated in China.
Fresh apricots are yellow to orange, small, sweet, and fleshy with a smooth texture. On the other hand, the dried fruits have a musky and bitter flavor. The consumption of apricots, though fairly common among most cultures, is unique to each culture. The presence of many organic compounds like macro and micro nutrients, vitamins and minerals along with the extremely impressive health benefits make apricot an excellent food.
[ Read: Prunes For Babies ]
When Can My Baby Eat Apricots?
Apricots can form excellent sources of baby food because of the presence of most essential nutrients needed for their proper growth. Children can have both fresh and dried apricots from the age of six months or above. It’s because a baby’s digestive system strengthens by this age, and ensures proper digestion of semi-solid as well as solid food. You can prepare several lip-smacking recipes for your little one using apricots, but steaming and blanching the fruit are considered the safest options for introducing the fruit to the infant. The fine skin of the apricot ensures that you don’t need to peel the fruit before your baby eats it.
- For children older than three years, Apricots can also be given in the form of tarts, pies, pancakes or along with their breakfast cereals. Dried apricots can also be offered as a healthy evening snack to your kid.
- Also, apricot goes great with rice, cereals, bananas, pears, peaches, avocado, sweet potatoes, carrots, yogurt, beef, and chicken.
- Also, you can get many types of apricot jellies, jams, marmalades and other confectioneries.
Apricots For Babies – Nutritional Values:
The addition of apricots can provide some rich and nutritious food to kids. They contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, which impart a beautiful color to the fruit. Apricots also contain an important antioxidant called lycopene, which helps flush toxins from the system. The fruit is an excellent source of natural sugars fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose, vitamins like A, B, C, E and K, Calcium, Iron and other essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Nutritional Value Of Apricots:
The nutritional value of 100 grams of the edible part of both fresh and dried apricots are as follows.
1. Moisture 85.3%
2. Proteins 1.0%
3. Fats 0.3%
4. Fiber 1.0%
5. Carbohydrates 11.6%
6. Calcium 20mg
7. Phosphorus 25mg
8. Magnesium 10mg
9. Iron 2.2mg
10. Vitamin C 6mg
11. Vitamin A
12. B- Complex vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin.
13. Calories 53
1. Moisture 19.4%
2. Protein 1.6%
3. Fat 0.7%
4. Minerals 2.8%
5. Fiber 2.1%
6. Carbohydrates 73.4%
7. Calcium 110mg
5. Phosphorus 70mg
9. Iron 4.6mg
10. Vitamin C 2mg
11. Calories 306
[ Read: Benefits Of Dry Fruits For Babies ]
How To Select And Store Apricots For Baby Food?
It is clear that apricots are a power packed food choice for the little ones. They also hold an explicit tag from the EWG, which says that these tangy fruits don’t fall under the dirty dozen(1), i.e., they are most probably free from pesticides. It is said that the fruit which ripens on the tree itself will develop the right taste and flavor. Therefore, here are a few things worth consideration when selecting the right kind of apricot.
- When choosing a fresh apricot, one should consider the plump ones. They should have a dazzling golden orange, yellow color with rich red inside.
- They should be tree ripened, which you can learn from the soft touch as they taste the best and are full of antioxidants.
- It is advisable not to pick on the apricots with a green coat, as they are rarely ripe.
- Also do not pick the ones that are too firm or have a hard coat, as it indicates that they are not tree-ripened. Avoid apricots with cracks and white spots.
- Pick brown colored dried apricots. This is because apricots when treated with preservatives like sulfur compounds, can not only look orange but also lead to nasty allergies.
- Typically, you should eat apricots as soon as you can as they have a short shelf life.
- Handle apricots carefully as they can bruise and spoil rather quickly.
- Fresh and ripened apricots should be stored in the refrigerator, as cool conditions will slow down the ripening process.
- Simply slice the fruit, place it on the baking sheet and then in a plastic freezer bag. If you come across a hard one, you can preserve it in a paper bag for it to ripen.
Health Benefits Of Apricots:
Apricots are one of the healthiest fruits ever known with numerous benefits. They are the storehouses of nutrients and so will help in maintaining the overall health of the little one.
1. Brain Development:
According to a study, children require high amounts of Magnesium and Potassium for proper brain development. As apricots are rich sources of these nutrients, they can serve better in cerebral functioning and thus in the overall brain development (2).
[ Read: Healthy Foods For Baby Brain Development ]
2. Easy Digestion:
Apricots are known to aid easy and better digestion because of their high dietary fiber content, like cellulose and pectin. Their consumption will put a check on the issues related to constipation as it will act as a natural and gentle laxative for a smooth passage of stools. Six to eight portions of apricot can put a check to constipation (3).
Apricot is an excellent source of iron, and so its consumption can offer a good remedy for anemia.
4. Good Eyesight:
Apricots are a rich source of vitamin A along with carotenoids and xanthophylls, which are the key drivers in protecting retina and maintaining proper eye health.(4)
5. Controlling Blood Pressure:
The high levels of Potassium present in the dried fruit can monitor the water retaining properties of Sodium and so will maintain the blood volume in its required range. Thus, it can protect against elevated blood pressure and heart diseases (5).
[ Read: Blood Pressure In Babies ]
These fruits are rich in several antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, catechins, coumaric acid and more. Antioxidants help in preventing free radical damage, and turn will prevent early aging.
7. Essential Oils:
Apricot oil is a rich source of vitamin A, E, and oleic acid, which is essential for soft and healthy skin. Therefore, oil extracted from the apricots can improve the health of sensitive skin of the babies and will eventually make it smooth.
In general, the fruit is regarded as a safe food, but a few dried fruits could be treated with sulfites and other sulfur-containing compounds that act as a preservative, so as to increase the shelf life of the food. This can cause sulfur sensitivity and reactions in those consuming them. This condition is high in those suffering from asthma. Therefore, one should take enough care to avoid picking sulfur-treated apricots, instead include fresh and tangy apricots in your diet to enjoy all its associated benefits.
Apricot Recipes For Babies:
Apricots are rich sources of fiber and beta carotene. They hold a delightful tartness and make a creamy breakfast smoothie or a filling dessert. Apricots are not only a good source of fiber, but they also protect an infant’s digestive system. You can wash them and soak them for a while before you feed them to your baby, or you can opt for some easy to prepare, healthy apricot recipes, including:
1. Apricot Puree:
- Apricot puree is one perfect food for your little angel. Infants who are 6 to 8-month-old can have apricot puree.
- To make the puree: Wash and peel the fruit. Remove the pit and slice the fruit. Bend or blanch the sliced fruit and add water to attain the desired consistency.
- One whole apricot (35 grams of the fruit) makes four ounces of puree.
[ Read: Fruit Purees For Babies ]
2. Apricot Smoothie:
- Removing the pits from the fruits, blend a few fresh apricots by. Then mix them with some fresh yogurt and few strands of saffron for an amazing taste. Use a straw to serve. Your baby will love its taste.
- You can enhance the smoothie’s taste by adding cashew nuts, raisins, and more.
3. Milk And Apricot:
- Boil some milk until it is halved. Now add some fresh fruit pulp and sugar to the remaining milk. Cool, the mixture to room temperature. You can feed your infant with the warm milk and apricot or freeze it and serve as an ice cream.
- In this way, your little one can not only experience the richness of the fruit, but also get some milk along with it.
Things To Consider:
Even before introducing this food to a little one, certain important things need to be considered, simply to prevent unwanted complications. They include:
- Feed your baby a ripened fruit to avoid complications resulting due to the toxic chemical compounds like hydrocyanic acid that is released from bitter or raw fruits.
- Give sufficient time gap between introducing a new food to the baby. This is imperative and helps identify the occurrence of potential reactions.
- Never feed your baby with a frozen fruit when it is still cool. Wait until the fruit attains room temperature before you feed your little one.
- Never give the fruit to your baby without washing it. Because, the fruits can harbor at least some traces of the pesticide residue, which can show ill effects with time.
- Every parent looks forward to providing their children with highly nutritious and filling foods that offer numerous health benefits. Apricots are regarded as one of the best options to suffice the needs under this criteria. Though a significant portion of calories in apricots comes from the sugars, they are excellent sources of potassium, vitamin A, and dietary fiber, which remain as the essential inclusions for healthy growth. They also stand out as foods with less saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
When complemented with other protein rich foods, apricots offer a complete amino acid profile needed for the body. Therefore, munching on apricots just means taking in as many nutrients as possible into the body and for children they are pretty imperative for a better overall growth.
So simply grab your piece of apricots that can be eaten raw or and prepare some lip-smacking recipes that are terrific to offer a tasty treat to your little ones.
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