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Pineapple For Babies: Health Benefits, Risks, And Recipes

Pineapple For Babies Health Benefits, Risks, And Recipes

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Pineapple, also known as ananas, is a highly versatile fruit and can be incorporated into anything from savory dishes to delectable desserts. If your baby is already eating solids and other fruits, then pineapple is likely on your feeding list. But is the fruit safe for infants?

In this Mom Junction post, we present all the essential information about pineapple for babies, its safety, benefits, and much more.

Is It Safe For Babies To Eat Pineapple?

Yes. Pineapple is safe for babies. However, pineapple allergy due to cross-reactivity is often observed. Therefore, it is wise to practice caution and consult a pediatrician before including.

When Can Babies Have Pineapple?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “the introduction of solid foods between the ages of four and six months(1). So, as your baby starts solids, pineapple can as well be included in the diet.

Many parents might deter from including pineapple in their baby’s diet due to the fear of allergies. But it is not needed unless your baby has shown signs of allergy previously. Extending exclusive breastfeeding and delaying feeding solids is quite unlikely to prevent allergies in babies.

Nutritional Value Of Pineapple

Pineapple is considered an essential tropical fruit in the world (2). It is rich in micronutrients, phytochemicals, and bioactive compounds such as bromelain (3).

100grams of fresh, raw pineapple provides the following nutrients. Corresponding to nutrients are the recommended amounts of nutrients (RDA) for babies on a per day basis.

NameAmountRDA (per day)
Water86g
Energy50Kcal
Fiber, total dietary1.4g
Sugars, total including NLEA9.85g
Calcium, Ca13mg270mg (7-12 months)
Magnesium, Mg12mg75mg (7-12 months)
Phosphorus, P8mg275mg (7-12 months)
Potassium, K109mg700mg (7-12 months)
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid47.8mg20mg (7-12 months)
Folate, total18µg32µg (7-12 months)

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture (4) and World Health Organization (5)

Health Benefits Of Pineapple For Babies

Besides food, pineapple is also used as a medicinal plant in traditional medicine. Most of the therapeutic properties of fresh pineapple are attributed to bromelain, a complex mixture of protease. Bromelain is found in pineapple fruit and its stem (6).

Below are some health benefits that your baby could reap by regular consumption of pineapple with a well-balanced diet (6) (3) (7).

  1. Hydration: 100grams of pineapple has 85grams of water. It makes pineapple a juicy fruit that could help fight dehydration. It refreshes the body and also provides micronutrients, which are crucial for maintaining various physiological reactions.
  1. Regular bowel movement: Besides water, pineapple has a considerable amount of fiber that could support regular bowel movement. It is an important mechanism to keep constipation at bay.
  1. Healthy heart: Pineapple contains bromelain that has been attributed to the cardioprotective benefits when consumed regularly. Mainly, bromelain found in pineapple reduces blood clotting and helps remove plaque from arterial walls.
  1. Pain relief: Bromelain present in pineapple is believed to have analgesic properties that could help in providing relief from pain.
  1. Control inflammation: Bromelain has been recommended as complementary medicine in the treatment of chronic inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Its anti-inflammatory property has also been demonstrated in conditions like sinusitis, sore throat, and other upper respiratory infections.
  1. Subside infections: Research studies show that bromelain found in pineapple could fight-off some of the effects of certain intestinal pathogens such as E.coli. It helps control diarrhea, which often occurs due to the enterotoxicity of pathogens (8).
  1. Might remove intestinal worms: As per folk medicine literature, it is believed that pineapple juice can clear intestinal worms. A research study among birds noted the anthelmintic property of pineapple juice (9). However, no research studies on humans were found in this regard.
  1. Potential antioxidant: Pineapple has a considerable amount of vitamin C and bromelain that possess antioxidant properties. The availability of potent antioxidants in the body supports immunity and reduces free radical damage.

Apart from bromelain and vitamin C, pineapple also contains good amounts of magnesium and potassium that helps in the development of the bones and nervous system.

Potentials Risks Of Pineapple For Babies

Like any other food item, pineapple also has some potential health risks that are worth knowing (7).

  1. Toxicity: Raw pineapple is not only considered inedible but is actually poisonous. On consumption, it acts as a throat irritant and drastic purgative. Thus, its use must be avoided for babies to reduce risks of health implications.
  1. Bezoars: Surplus consumption of pineapple might lead to the formation of fiber balls called bezoar in the digestive system.
  1. Oral allergy syndrome: Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is caused by cross-reactivity between specific proteins found in fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts with pollens (10). Clinical evidence exists for cross-reactivity of bromelain and papain (11) (12) and cross-reactivity of pineapple with banana, latex, or birch pollen (13).

Note: Your baby is at an increased risk of pineapple allergy if a close relative such as parents, siblings, or grandparents are allergic to pineapple.

Precautions While Introducing Pineapple To Babies

Pineapple is very perishable. Therefore, it is important to take precautions while selecting, storing, and consuming it. Below are some steps that could be helpful (3) (14).

  1. Buy only fresh and organic pineapple.
  1. Do not buy a pineapple if the crown leaves look dry or brown, outer skin appears dull and yellow, there is visible mold on the surface, and the fruit looks too tender on touch.
  1. Pineapple can be stored at room temperature for two to three days. This will make the fruit softer and juicier.
  1. If the weather is hot, then the entire uncut fruit should be refrigerated at 10-13 degrees Celsius. Do not mist or ice the pineapple since the fruit is sensitive to chilling.
  1. Check for the right temperature for storage, if you are buying fresh-cut and packed pineapples from the market. They have a decent shelf-life of at least seven days at the right temperature.
  1. For canned pineapple, check the label carefully for ingredients, manufacturing, and expiry date.
  1. Check the can carefully for possible damage. If you find the can to be dented or puffed, then do not buy it as the product safety is possibly compromised.

Ways To Include Pineapple In Baby’s Diet

Pineapple is available in various forms like fresh, canned, and frozen. You can pick either of them to prepare a dish for your baby. However, it is always good to use fresh pineapple instead of other alternatives like canned or frozen pineapple.

Below are some nutritionally sumptuous ways in which you can introduce pineapple to your baby.

For Babies 4-6 months

For babies under six months of age, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended. However, some babies do show readiness towards solid food at the age of four months. As you intend to introduce pineapple, a pineapple puree is the simplest recipe to try. Once the baby seems comfortable, then you can try mixing pineapple with other foods. There are some recipes too that you could consider.

Pineapple yogurt

Pineapple yogurt

Image: iStock

This recipe is a blend of yogurt and pineapple, thus making the preparation rich in protein and micronutrients essential for a baby.

You will need:

  • 1 pineapple ring
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt

How To:

  1. Take the pineapple ring and dice it into pieces. Ensure that the utensils used are clean and sterilized.
  2. Put the pineapple pieces into a blender and add yogurt.
  3. Blend the mixture until you get a smooth paste. Ensure no lumps are formed.
  4. Take the mixture out in a small bowl. Sprinkle some cinnamon over it and serve it.

For Babies 7-9 months

By seven to nine months of age, a baby should be eating all the foods from various food groups. So this is the time when you can also broaden your options and serve more interesting dishes for your baby. Try this finger food recipe for your baby that is raved by many mothers.

Pineapple and cream cheese sandwiches

Pineapple and cream cheese sandwiches

Image: Shutterstock

This recipe also has a blend of high protein cheese with pineapple to ensure that your baby gets all that is needed to eat nutritiously.

You will need:

  • 2 whole-grain bread slices
  • 1 8oz. (226gm) pack of cream cheese
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts and almonds (thinly sliced) – optional

How to:

  1. To start, take a clean bowl and put cream cheese in it.
  2. Now, add crushed pineapple to the cream cheese, and blend them mix together well.
  3. Once the blend is ready, add brown sugar and sliced nuts into it.
  4. Mix everything well and keep it aside.
  5. Take a bread slice and lay it on a flat board, and remove the edges of the bread.
  6. Now cut four squares out of the slice and spread the cream cheese mix over those pieces.
  7. Pack those slices as sandwiches and wrap them well in a plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with a fresh homemade sauce.

Above 12 months, babies can try almost any recipe made from pineapple. If you want to try pineapple juice for your baby, this would be the right time to do so. However, feed only small quantities of juice to your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited intake of juice for babies under two years of age as fruit juices do not hold any nutritional benefits for them (15).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is my baby crying after eating pineapple?

The citric acid in pineapple might irritate the stomach leading to stomach cramps. In such a case, discontinue feeding pineapple to your baby. If your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, then consult a pediatrician immediately.

2. Which is good for babies – fresh or canned pineapple?

Fresh pineapple is better than canned ones. This is evident as canned products have chemicals in them in the form of preservatives and other additives such as acidity regulators that might be harmful for the baby.

However, avoiding canned foods may not always be possible. Thus, in such cases, pick varieties that are canned in water or in its own juice (16). Look for labels such as “added sugar” or “reduced sodium” etc. Choose brands that are low in sodium and have no added sugar, preferably.

Pineapple is a tropical fruit that is rich in nutrients and total water content. Moderate consumption of this fruit regularly demonstrates health benefits, which are crucial for babies. You can feed pineapple to your baby in a variety of ways. However, ensure that you feed only ripe pineapple to your baby to reap the most benefits.

Have something to share about pineapple for babies? Let us know in the comment section below.

References:

1. Introduction of Solid Foods and Allergic Reactions; American Academy of Pediatrics
2. M. Asim et al., A Review on Pineapple Leaves Fibre and Its Composites; Hindawi
3. Pineapple; Eat Right, USDA
4. Pineapple, raw, all varieties (169124); Food Data Central; USFDA
5. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children; WHO
6. Rajendra Pavan et al., Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review; Hindawi
7. Benefits and Uses of pineapple; Pineapple Research Station; Kerala Agricultural University
8. Vidhya Rathnavelu et al., Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications (Review); National Center For Biotechnology Information
9. Joan Marie Ygot Cormanes et al., In vivo anthelmintic activity of pineapple (Ananas comosus Merr.) fruit peeling juice in semi-scavenging Philippine native chicken naturally co-infected with Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum; Researchgate
10. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS); Stanford Health Care
11. Jean-Pol Quarre et al., Allergy to latex and papain; The Journal of Allergy And Clinical Immunology
12. Baur X and Fruhmann G; Allergic reactions, including asthma, to the pineapple protease bromelain following occupational exposure.; National Center For Biotechnology Information
13. Allergy information for: Pineapple (Ananas comosus ); The University of Manchester
14. Pineapple: Postharvest Quality-Maintenance Guidelines; University of Hawaii
15. Where We Stand: Fruit Juice; Healthy Children; American Academy of Pediatrics
16. Fresh, Frozen or Canned Fruits and Vegetables: All Can Be Healthy Choices!; American Heart Association
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