Pomegranate is a popular semi-tropical fruit native to Iraq. This old fruit is famous for its nutritional profile and antioxidant properties that can promote health which is why it is also considered a superfood. But while pomegranate for babies seems a good choice, feeding it in age-appropriate ways is necessary to avert feeding issues such as gagging and choking.
Read on to learn about the right age when babies can eat a pomegranate, its possible health benefits, and precautions to observe when feeding this fruit to babies.
Is Pomegranate Good For Babies?
Yes! You can give pomegranate to your baby after the baby turns six months old, but only in the form of fresh juice. While you feed juice, make sure it has no added sugars or artificial sweetners as fruit juice is not recommended for babies under one year of age (1). If your baby is under one year, it is wise to consult your pediatric nutritionist to decide on a safe intake limit for your baby.
Note: Once your child grows a bit, you can serve the fruit pulp instead of juice. But make sure it is seedless as pomegranate seeds are a potential choking hazard.
Nutritional Value Of Pomegranate
The edible part of pomegranate consists of 85% water. It also has fair amounts of micronutrients and bioactive compounds such as phenolics and flavonoids (2). Below is a detailed list of nutrients that pomegranate has versus the recommended amounts for babies on a per-day basis.
|Carbohydrate, by difference||28.8g||–|
|Fiber, total dietary||6.16g||–|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||21.1g||–|
|Calcium, Ca||15.4mg||270 mg (7-12 months)|
|Magnesium, Mg||18.5mg||75mg (7-12 months)|
|Phosphorus, P||55.4mg||275mg (7-12 months)|
|Potassium, K||363mg||700mg (7-12 months)|
|Sodium, Na||4.62mg||200mg (7-12 months)|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||15.7mg||20mg (7-12months)|
|Folate, total||58.5µg||32µg (7-12 months)|
|Choline, total||11.7mg||150mg (7-12months)|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||25.3µg||10µg (7-12months)|
|Source: Nutrient Values (3), RDA (4)|
Research studies show that pomegranate has certain bioactive compounds that possess the potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects useful to promote health (5).
Health Benefits Of Pomegranate For Babies
Here are some ways in which pomegranate can help your baby.
- Nutrition: Pomegranate has considerable amounts of vitamins, particularly vitamins C and E. It also has a good amount of minerals such as folate, fiber, and potassium (3). These powerful nutrients possess properties that protect your baby from diseases.
- Inflammation: A study has shown that extracts from the pomegranate have the potential to reduce inflammation caused by various types of bacterial infections. This medicinal property of pomegranate is attributed to ellagitannins, an antioxidant found in pomegranate (6).
Another research study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition has demonstrated the potential effect of fresh pomegranate juice on multidrug-resistant bacterial strains (7).
- Digestive problems: Pomegranate has been used in traditional medicine practices. One such medicinal use is the treatment of digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Pomegranate juice is considered effective in treating vomiting and counteracting the bacteria that cause dysentery and diarrhea in babies. However, there are limited clinical studies to substantiate the belief (8).
Pomegranate is also considered as a natural constipation reliever. One pomegranate gives approximately six grams of dietary fiber. This amount is reasonable to help combat constipation. However, there is limited clinical evidence to validate the belief.
- Intestinal worms: These parasites reside in either the small or large intestine and multiply by feeding on the nutrients. As per Ayurveda, pomegranate fruit has anthelmintic properties that can help kill intestinal worms (9). But, the clinical research validating the belief is limited.
- Fevers: Pomegranate juice is believed to be effective in treating fever in babies. The juice is not only believed to control fever but also replete the nutrients lost due to fever. The supporting clinical studies are few. However, its efficacy to restore nutrient balance after the fever is documented (10).
The health benefits of pomegranate are promising, and thus, it may be added in your baby’s diet. However, some precautions are a must before you do so.
Precautions To Take While Giving Pomegranate To Babies
Some things to consider before feeding your little one pomegranate pulp are:
- Make sure that you don’t give seeds to your baby. Pomegranate seeds pose a choking hazard.
- Do not grind the white skin of the pomegranate while making the juice. It will lend a sour flavor to the juice.
- Overconsumption of fruit juice can lead to weight gain and dental problems.
- Offer the juice sparingly as infants receive most of their nutrients from the mother’s milk. 4oz a day is more than enough for an 8-month-old baby. Excess consumption can cause diarrhea.
- Do not mix pomegranate with any other fruit or vegetable. Always follow the four-day rule before introducing any food into your baby’s diet. And keep an eye for the allergic reactions.
- If you see any allergic reaction or signs of intolerance, discontinue feeding immediately and consult a pediatrician promptly.
With all the precautions followed, you can safely introduce pomegranate or pomegranate juice to your baby.
How To Make Pomegranate Juice For Babies?
You can easily make pomegranate juice at home by following these simple steps:
- Take out all the seeds from the pomegranate and blend in a juicer.
- Do not add extra sugar to the juice.
- Strain the juice before serving to your baby. And feed in small quantities.
Pomegranate for babies is totally safe to be given as juice once they reach the age of six months. However, make sure the juice has no artificial or added sweeteners that could affect your baby’s health adversely. Pomegranate is a nutrient-rich fruit with potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties to promote your baby’s good health. It can also be used to treat gastric disorders in infants. Nevertheless, when offering pomegranate to your newborn, make sure the pulp is free of seeds and limit their intake.
2. Sreeja Sreekumar et al.; Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds; Hindawi
3. Pomegranate, raw, (341622); Food Data Central; USFDA
4. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children; WHO
5. Aida Zarfeshany et al.; Potent health effects of pomegranate; National Center For Biotechnology Information
6. Amy B. Howell and Doris H. D’Souza; The Pomegranate: Effects on Bacteria and Viruses That Influence Human Health; Hindawi
7. Gabriel Betanzos-Cabrera et al.; Antibacterial activity of fresh pomegranate juice against clinical strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis; National Center For Biotechnology Information
8. Elisa Colombo et al.; A Review on the Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Pomegranate in the Gastrointestinal Tract; National Center For Biotechnology Information
9. Rama Aggarwal and Upma Bagai; Effect of Punica granatum fruit peel on glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and malate dehydrogenase in amphistome Gastrothylax indicus; National Center For Biotechnology Information
10. Debjit Bhowmik et al.; Medicinal Uses of Punica granatum and Its Health Benefits; Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
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Jyoti Benjamin(MS, RD, CSO, FAND, CD)
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