Spinach (from 8-12 months)
The one good reason why babies should be given spinach is that it is one of the best sources of essential minerals for baby growth and development. Spinach contains high amount of calcium and magnesium, both of which are essential for bone development. It contains high amounts of iron and potassium as well. Iron is useful for hemoglobin production and potassium is essential for brain development.
Apart from minerals, vitamins are also essential for a baby’s growth. Spinach supplies vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, vitamin E and vitamin K. Each of these vitamins play an important role in improving body functions in infants. For example, vitamin A is essential for developing eye sight, vitamin C is essential for building a strong immune system, etc.
Spinach being a leafy vegetable, it has significant amounts of dietary fiber in it. This dietary fiber is good for keeping the digestive system clean. It is better to have fiber in diet because fiber absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. Thus by giving spinach to your baby, bowel movements are eased and in turn, you develop a healthy digestive system for your child. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Gastric disorders can also occur in babies because their stomach and intestines are not fully developed. The gastric juices would not be as strong as that of a grown up person, leading to indigestion or gastric problems. Spinach can be used during such times.
- 1 pound of fresh spinach – washed and trimmed if necessary
Step 1: Thoroughly cleanse fresh spinach and pick out damaged leaves
Step 2: Steam in a pot with a steamer basket insert (water should just peek through the holes of the basket).
Step 3: Leaves will shrink and appear wilted when done.
(DO NOT USE COOKING WATER TO PUREE.)Step 4: Drain and puree spinach in blender or food processor,
Step 5: Add fresh water until mixture is of the desired consistency.
Nitrate risk. Spinach puree MUST be immediately eaten, frozen or stored in the refrigerator. Studies done on spinach and nitrates in particular have shown that with improper storage and preparation, the nitrate levels may actually increase. Proper preparation and immediate use or storing via freezer method will help eliminate this risk in leafy vegetables.