Guava (Psidium guajava) is a tropical fruit people consume worldwide for its medicinal properties. The health benefits of guava for babies are numerous, and it contains several nutrients and bioactive compounds that promote long-term health.
Different parts of the guava plant possess antimicrobial and possibly anticancer properties (1). However, knowing the right age and age-appropriate ways to feed guava to your baby is important.
Keep reading to learn more about whether it is safe for babies to consume guava, its nutritional value, possible health benefits, and side effects. It also provides some easy guava recipes you can make for your baby.
Is Guava Safe For Babies?
Yes, guava is safe for infants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration refers to guava as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for consumption (2). However, give it in moderation. Also, make it a part of a balanced diet instead of giving it as a standalone food.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting weaning foods once your baby displays signs of readiness. Feed a variety of weaning foods with continued breastfeeding at least until the baby turns a year old (3).
At What Age Can Babies Start Eating Guava?
Babies can have guava by the age of six months. This is a safe age as the baby starts eating other complementary foods such as rice and potato. However, as you introduce guava to your baby, start with guava puree and then transit to soft, cooked guava. You might also like to try mashed (peeled and deseeded) guava.
Do not give guava juice to your baby as babies younger than one year are not recommended juices (4).
Nutritional Value Of Guava
The flesh of guava ranges from pink, white, yellow to red. It is rich in essential micronutrients such as vitamins A ,B ,E and C, folic acid, phytochemicals, aminoacids, dietary fiber, minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper (1). Besides, it is also known to have certain bioactive compounds, which have health-promoting effects.
|Carbohydrate, by difference||7.88g||–|
|Fiber, total dietary||2.97g||–|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||4.91g||–|
|Calcium, Ca||9.9mg||270mg (7-12 months)|
|Magnesium, Mg||12.1mg||75mg (7-12 months)|
|Phosphorus, P||22mg||275mg (7-12 months)|
|Potassium, K||229mg||700mg (7-12 months)|
|Sodium, Na||1.1mg||200mg (7-12 months)|
|Zinc, Zn||0.127mg||5mg (7-12 months)|
|Copper, Cu||0.127mg||0.6-0.7mg (7-12month)|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||126mg||35mg (7-12 months)|
|Riboflavin||0.022mg||0.5mg (7-12 months)|
|Niacin||0.596mg||6mg (7-12 months)|
|Vitamin B-6||0.061mg||0.6mg (7-12 months)|
|Folate, total||27µg||35µg (7-12 months)|
Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization
Health Benefits Of Guava For Babies
Moderate yet regular consumption of guava allows the baby to reap the following health benefits from the fruit.
- Good for digestive health: A research study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that dietary fiber and phenolic compounds in guava could promote good intestinal health (7). The dietary fiber present in the fruit also helps healthy bowel movement and keep constipation at bay. Its high water content aids digestion and hydration.
- Helps gut bacteria: The peel and pulp of guava contain antioxidant dietary fiber (8). Guava’s dietary fiber has shown potential in supporting the gut microflora (9). A robust gut microflora helps in the proper absorption of nutrients.
- Boosts immunity: The fruit has high amounts of vitamin C and other valuable bioactive compounds such as carotenoids that could help in boosting immunity due to their antioxidative effects (10) .
- Supports vision: Regular consumption of carotenoids in the diet could support vision development (11). Guava is a good source of carotenoids, which could help maintain healthy vision and have protective effects over macular degeneration, in the long run (12).
- Brain development: Guava has good amounts of vitamin A that could help in brain development (13). It also has other important micronutrients such as vitamin B1, B3, and B6 that are also good for the brain (14).
- Neuroprotective effects: The pulp of the fruit contains a carotenoid called lycopene with more of the compound found in pink-fleshed guava (15). Lycopene has shown protective effects against neurodegeneration, in the long run (16).
- Improves overall health: Guava possesses several health benefits that are attributed to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activities. Its extract shows antinociceptive (pain suppression) activity and is also effective against inflammation. The high content of organic and inorganic compounds like polyphenols are also beneficial to the skin (17).
Regular consumption of guava can be beneficial, but one should be aware of its potential side effects as well.
Side Effects Of Guava For Babies
The use of guava leaf extract or guava supplements for babies is not considered safe. Pediatric consultation and approval is a must for using these products. However, for guava fruit, no adverse effects or risks are documented except guava allergy.
Guava allergy is uncommon yet possible (18). Therefore, practice caution while feeding guava to your baby, especially if they have any existing allergies. However, avoid feeding guava at bedtime as it increases energy levels and may cause disturbed sleep .
Precautions To Take While Feeding Guava To Babies
Consider the following points when feeding guava to your baby.
- Give soft, cooked, and mashed or pureed guava in the beginning.
- Offer small quantities, i.e., one to two teaspoons initially. Once your baby is comfortable, you may gradually increase the quantity.
- Guava contains small seeds that can be hard to digest for infants. Therefore, remove the seeds when you make a pulp or puree.
- Go slow in the beginning. Follow the three-day wait rule. This will help you determine if guava is suitable for your baby. Meanwhile, do not introduce any new food to your infant.
- If your baby shows any signs of discomfort after eating guava, then stop feeding the fruit. Consult a doctor before serving guava to the baby again.
- Guava is acidic, largely due to malic and citric acid and excessive consumption might cause stools to become acidic as well. This may cause a diaper rash. Therefore, serve guava in moderation.
In the next section, we suggest some tasty guava recipes for your baby.
Guava Recipes For Babies
Prepare various recipes with guava depending on the age of the baby. Below are some recipes that you might like to try.
1. Mixed guava puree
This is an ideal recipe for babies between the ages of six to eight months. The puree is highly nutritious with abundant vitamin C and other valuable nutrients.
You will need:
- 1 guava (mashed)
- 1 kiwi (chopped)
- Take the chopped vegetables. Deseed them and then make a puree.
- Mix guava and kiwi puree together.
- Serve it to your baby as a midday snack.
2. Oats guava porridge
You can serve this preparation as breakfast. It will provide umpteen soluble fiber from oats and valuable micronutrients from guava to support your baby’s needs well.
You will need:
- 1 cup oats
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 guava, ground to a paste
- Jaggery powder, to taste
- 1tbsp dry fruit powder (optional)
- Take a thick bottom pan and put it on medium flame. Add water into it and let the water boil.
- Now soak the oats in the boiling water for five minutes.
- Cook the oats well. When they are done, they look mushy.
- Now add milk and jaggery. Cook for three to four minutes and add the guava paste.
- Mix the paste well with the oats. Lower the flame, cover the pan with the lid and let the oats simmer for two to three minutes.
- Transfer the porridge to a bowl. Sprinkle some dry fruit powder and serve.
Guava for babies can be a nutritious addition to their diet after six months. It contains various vitamins and bioactive components that help support your baby’s general health. It also has several health benefits for babies, including enhanced digestion, vision, and immunity. However, remember to feed your baby the fruit in moderation and avoid giving little guava seeds. Also, don’t use it as a sole source of nutrition for your infant. Instead, incorporate it into your baby’s well-balanced diet daily.
2. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21; FDA
3. Starting Solid Foods; Healthy Children; American Academy of Pediatrics
4. AAP Recommends No Fruit Juice for Children Under 1 Year; AAP
5. Guava, raw (341568); Food Data Central; USDA
6. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children; WHO
7. E. Quiros-Sauceda et al.; Dietary fiber and phenolic compounds as functional ingredients: Interaction and possible effect after ingestion; Researchgate
8. Jimenez-Escrig et al., Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber.; Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
9. Jiefen Cu et al.; Dietary Fibers from Fruits and Vegetables and Their Health Benefits via Modulation of Gut Microbiota; Wiley Online
10. Oliveira Dda S et al.; Carotenoids and Vitamin C during Handling and Distribution of Guava (Psidium guajava L.), Mango (Mangifera indica L.), and Papaya (Carica papaya L.) at Commercial Restaurants.; National Center For Biotechnology Information
11. Jonathan R Mein et al.; Biological activity of lycopene metabolites: implications for cancer prevention; National Center For Biotechnology Information
12. Maneli Mozaffarieh et al.; The role of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, in protecting against age-related macular degeneration: A review based on controversial evidence; National Center For Biotechnology Information
13. Christopher R. Olson and Claudio V. Mello; Significance of vitamin A to brain function, behavior and learning; National Center For Biotechnology Information
14. What are the health benefits of Guava?; Researchgate
15. Vijayanand Pasupuleti and Shyamrao Gururao Kulkarni; Lycopene fortification on the quality characteristics of beverage formulations developed from pink flesh guava (Psidium guajava L.); National Center For Biotechnology Information
16. John W. Erdman, Jr.; Are the health attributes of lycopene related to its antioxidant function?; National Center For Biotechnology Information
17. Sumra Naseer et al.; The phytochemistry and medicinal value of Psidium guajava (guava); Springer
18. Elham Hossny et al.; Challenges of managing food allergy in the developing world; Science Direct