Giving baby spicy food

Babies can start eating spices after 6 months — how to introduce it to their diet - National

If you’re a parent who has a palate for spice, it’s no surprise you would want your kids on board as early as possible and, according to some experts, babies can start eating spices as early as six months.

“Unless your baby has a reaction to any spice, there is no reason why you can’t introduce a hint of spice from six months,” says Shahzadi Devje, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator based in Toronto.

READ MORE: Baby-led weaning 101 — why some experts advocate solid food at 6 months

Devje adds some parents feel baby food has to be bland or mushy, and spices are an easy way to add more flavour.

Spices — an introduction

Andrea Carpenter, registered dietitian and owner of NutriKidz, says spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves can be introduced after infants experiment with solid food at six months.

“Herbs and spices are great flavour enhancers without adding unnecessary sugar and salt,” she tells Global News. “As with any new food, spices should be offered one at a time, waiting three to five days, before adding a new spice to see if there is a reaction.”

READ MORE: Spice, spice baby — tips to prevent picky eaters

Devje says any mild spice like coriander, mild curry powder, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, fennel, dill, oregano, and thyme are all OK to introduce to your child’s diet after six months.

“Make sure you use tiny amounts in the early stages to prevent stomach upset. You want to opt for powder versus whole spices to prevent risk of choking.”

She suggests adding mild curry powder and coriander to lentils or curries or adding cinnamon and nutmeg to fruits, veggies and oatmeal.

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Benefits of spices

Studies have shown spices could help you live longer, and certain ones, like cinnamon, have also been linked to reducing blood sugar levels and improving total cholesterol, CNN reports.

But for infants, experts say it’s a good way to expand their taste buds and introduce them to different food, rather than just focusing on the nutritional benefits.

She adds opening them up to spices can also open them up to different cuisines or your own staples. If you love chili con carne, dhal, lasagna or pad Thai, she adds, you would want to make sure your kid one day loves it too.

“Expanding babies’ taste buds is a great way to help them transition to family foods, as your baby will be familiar with those tastes and more likely to accept them.”

It can also encourage a more adventurous eater, Carpenter adds, and in the long run, this could mean not dealing with a super picky eater. “Many children appreciate the flavours that spices provide, compared to more bland foods.”

Spices to avoid

But this doesn’t mean every spice is suitable for an infant more than six months. Carpenter says you should avoid hot spices or any spice if a child has a negative reaction to the food, however, she adds if there is no reaction, there is no reason to avoid spicy food.

She also doesn’t suggest avoiding hot spices with capsaicin, which trigger our nerves to feel heat.

READ MORE: Wary babies tend to be picky eaters too, child development study

Devje says some spices are known to irritate the gastric lining, which is why you should avoid them before the six month period. And once you start, use mild spices in small dosages.

“Remember to go easy and keep an eye out for any sensitivities. Slow and easy, with close monitoring is the way to take your baby on a culinary adventure with spices.”

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When babies can have spicy food and spices like pepper

You can introduce herbs and many spices as soon as your baby starts eating finger foods (usually around 8 to 10 months) – just don't add salt or sugar to their food. You want your baby to get used to the natural flavors of food and be willing to eat food that isn't heavily salted or sugared.

You can introduce new flavors into your baby's diet with spices like turmeric and cumin; herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme; or by adding small amounts of flavorful foods such as onion, garlic, and ginger. All of these not only add flavor to your baby's food, but texture and color, too.

Don't use spices too heavily at first. Begin with mild spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Other spices you can introduce are cumin, paprika, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. You can also season their food with a little bit of black pepper.

You may have raised your child's tolerance for hot stuff if you ate spicy food while breastfeeding – trace flavors and substances pass through your breast milk. But wait until your baby is at least a year old before you add curry, chili pepper, hot peppers like jalapeno or habanero, or other strong flavors to your child's diet. Children younger than a year are just getting used to basic foods and are especially prone to food reactions and sensitivities.

Also think about how your baby typically reacts to new foods. If your child is more sensitive, stick to blander fare for a while. Though they rarely trigger food allergies, spicy foods can irritate the digestive system and cause gastroesophageal reflux. If your child has gastroesophageal reflux, you may need to avoid spicy foods all together.

As you introduce stronger flavors, serve small amounts of foods you know your child can tolerate. That way, if they get an upset stomach, you'll be able to identify the culprit – and know to wait until they're older to try serving it again.

Are spices good for babies?

While it isn't clear exactly what role spices play in health, spices and herbs have been used for medicinal purposes across many cultures for a long time. While your baby probably won't eat enough spices in a sitting to have direct health benefits, it's possible that having a variety of spices and herbs over their lifetime could influence their health.

Introducing your child to a variety of flavors early on might also help them be open to trying and eating a variety of foods in their lifetime.

Can babies be allergic to spices?

It's possible for your baby to be allergic to spices, although it's usually an intolerance rather than an actual allergy. Life-threatening, anaphylactic reactions to spices are extremely rare, but it's important to know signs of an allergic reaction just in case.

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Signs of a food allergy include hives, itchy skin rashes, swelling, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pale skin. If you notice any of these symptoms in your baby, take note of what they've eaten and let their doctor know. If your baby has symptoms in more than one part of their body (such as hives and vomiting or diarrhea), it could be an anaphylactic reaction, which is an emergency.

Other signs of an anaphylactic reaction are throat tightness, breathing problems, wheezing, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. If your baby shows signs of an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.

How to introduce spices into your baby’s diet

There are many ways you can introduce spices into your baby's diet. If you use spices when preparing your meals at home, feed your baby what the rest of the family is eating. Your baby could also try cinnamon in pureed apple, nutmeg with baked sweet potato, cardamom in baked goods, paprika on chicken, or cumin with beans.

You can also incorporate fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, mint, oregano, and rosemary. Cooking with onion, garlic, and ginger is also a great way to introduce new flavors to your little one.

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Is it convenient for children to get used to spicy food?

Food causes anxiety in children, especially when they start eating or try everything. But in this "only" is it convenient that they eat spicy ? We're not talking about giving them chili to taste, but about making dishes as spicy as we adults eat them.

Consider gastronomic culture in which we feel immersed, the season of the year and local products. We recommend that if spicy is a regular part of the diet in your home and area where you live, your child will naturally get used to it. But, if it's not, you won't even miss out. nine0003


  • 1 Food that we can consider spicy
  • 2 When can they start eating?
  • 3 Pros and cons of spicy food

Food that we can consider spicy

Boys and girls, like adults, love delicious food with rich flavor. In fact, you'll notice that there are nuts and snacks flavored with these spicy flavors, and they're probably your kids' favorite. Don't forget to adapt the recipes, for example, to Mexican cuisine. If you are going to make cheddar cheese stuffed jalapenos, it is best to completely remove the seeds and white veins contained in this vegetable. nine0003

One of the foods that we consider spicy is which is so traditional in our stews and dressings. It has antiseptic properties, which at the same time avoid food poisoning. Other salty foods that we use in the kitchen that can be considered spicy are: onion , radish, cinnamon, cayenne or chili pepper, white pepper, black pepper and pepper . And to a lesser extent turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamom...

If your son tolerates these scents well, and it doesn't cause reflux or stomach pain, nothing happens. By itself, the spice has many benefits for the body. Also for children's body.

When can they start eating?

Some pediatricians talk about introducing strong and spicy foods year after year. But it can lead to certain allergies. However, as we said at the beginning, everything will depend on the gastronomic culture in which you will develop. Children usually begin to eat spicy flavors. nine0005 from the age of three.

Once you start introducing children to spicy or delicious foods, do some follow-up . Perhaps these products cause irritation of the mucous membrane of the stomach or intestines or heaviness in the child. In this case, children should stop taking acute.

Remember that while breastfeeding, if you overeat spicy foods, they will pass into your milk. What can develop spice intolerance on the part of the baby. nine0003

Pros and cons of spicy food

As a rule, spicy food helps fight colds, clears mucus from the lungs, improves the functioning of the digestive system. They also eliminate intestinal gases and intestinal parasites. So, in principle, there is nothing against your child eating spicy food.

If your boy or girl has problems with urination, or any other infection of this type, it is not recommended to sharpen it at this time, because it will sting more when you pee. One piece of advice: never let children eat spicy food with their hands. A typical gesture of dipping nachos in jalapeno sauce. After that, they often rub their face or eyes, and this causes them considerable discomfort. nine0003

And taking Mexican food as an example, it's so obviously easy to prepare for kids, and that it's usually always a success. In any case, as a summary, we recommend that do not eliminate spicy foods entirely from your children's diet, but use it in moderation. There are many recipes that you adapt to your children's spicy tolerance and they will surely ask you to add more spices, does this situation sound familiar to you?

The content of the article complies with our principles of editorial ethics. To report a bug, click here. nine0003

You may be interested

Does spicy food harm a child's stomach?


more than a year ago

My daughter is almost 7, on March holidays she visited her grandfather, and tasted ketchup there. Grandfather loves spicy, before every lunch and dinner he puts either ketchup or other spicy sauce on the table. My husband and I were seriously indignant, they said, acute is harmful. Grandfather convinces, says, on the contrary, spices are useful, strengthen the body. Maybe they strengthen, but I think not at the age of seven, when the ventricle is still tender. Or are we just wrong, and acute is already possible and necessary? nine0003




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