Sweet potatoes are mildly sweeter, starchy and rooty sisters of our normal potato. They are seen worldwide and grow in a variety of colours and sizes. Sweet potatoes are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre and anti-oxidants, making it one of the best meals for you baby! Here are a few health benefits of sweet potato for baby!
Is Sweet Potato good for babies?
When 58 veggies were listed from best to last based on their Vitamin A, C, iron, folate, calcium, copper and fibre percentages, sweet potatoes emerged the winner of the list!
1.Great for a healthy gut
Sweet potatoes are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps keep your baby’s digestive system running smooth. Bacteria that live in the intestines break down these fibres to form short chain fatty acids that keep the intestinal lining healthy and strong. This helps keep diarrhoea and constipation away and promotes regular bowel movements.
2. Healthy vision
Here’s another unmatched reason why you should give sweet potato for baby – it is loaded with beta carotene! Around a cup of baked orange sweet potatoes has over 7 times the beta carotene that an adult needs. Beta carotenes protect your baby’s eyes from damage, preserve vision and promote overall eye health.
3. Healthy brain
Mice that were fed anthocyanin rich food made of sweet potatoes showed improvement in memory and learning! Including sweet potatoes regularly in your baby’s diet can help their little brains grow stronger.
High levels of vitamin A are linked to a healthy immune system. The naturally high vitamin A content in sweet potatoes helps your baby have top notch immune system all year round. Sweet potatoes also protect the mucous membranes and strengthen the lining of the gut, which are important parts of the immune system.
Manganese is a mineral that we don’t hear much about, but it is essential for healthy bone growth. It also plays an important role in regulating metabolism. Sweet potatoes have good doses of manganese to keep your kid’s bones super strong.
When we hear potassium, we usually think of bananas. It turns out, sweet potatoes carry even more potassium than the slender yellow fruits. Potassium is key for muscle functioning and also plays an important role in reducing stress and anxiety.
Sweet potato for baby is also important because of its magnesium. Magnesium helps our bodies in many ways, including keeping away migraines, helping fertility and producing collagen, the recent beauty treatment everyone is after. Magnesium also helps your baby’s body absorb all other vitamins and minerals, helping your baby process all other foods better.
8. Anti inflammatory
Sweet potatoes are loaded with significant amounts of vitamins, which exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They are also rich in choline, which is a versatile nutrient that singlehandedly brings down inflammation.
Is it yam or a sweet potato?
While sweet potatoes and yams are sold separately everywhere else, the terms are often used interchangeably in the US, which can cause great confusion. Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family and yams originate from the yam family, and they both aren’t related at all. What is sold as yams in the US are often dark red skinned, orange fleshed sweet potatoes which are high in Vitamin A. The ones sold as sweet potatoes in the US are sweet potatoes too – but they are the light brown skinned ones. These aren’t much sweeter, are drier and starchier and are very close to normal potatoes in taste and texture.
Common sweet potatoes sold in the US are:
- Hannah Yams: These sweet potatoes have a white, sweet and firm flesh. They contain the high levels of vitamin A and other nutrients.
- Purple yams: This sweet potato for baby has deep purple, dry flesh that isn’t very sweet. This type has 0% vitamin A, and is rich other nutrients.
- Japanese yams: Purple skinned and white fleshed, these are very sweet but are rich in nutrients and lower in vitamin A.
- Jewel yams: These sweet potatoes have a deep orange flesh and are mildly sweet. They are rich in nutrients and high in vitamin A.
- Garnet yams: With deep orange flesh, these are moist when cooked and mildly sweet. They are rich in all nutrients and high in vitamin A.
Does boiling sweet potatoes remove nutrients?
Boling sweet potatoes is the best way to cook them if you want to save all the Vitamin A! Boiling preserves more beta carotene in the potato than frying or baking and makes it easier to be absorbed by the body. Boiling or cooking sweet potatoes for over 20 minutes can remove nutrients. Using short cooking times and cooking with skin on help minimize the leaching of nutrients.
Can sweet potatoes cause constipation in infants?
Sweet potatoes are loaded with a great amount of fibre that helps alleviate constipation. They contain soluble fibres called pectin and insoluble fibres called lignin and cellulose which add bulk to stools and help regulate bowel movements.
At what age can babies eat sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes can be introduced to babies with their first solids. Their natural sweetness goes well with different seasonings and with both sweet and savoury recipes. Take care to introduce a few spoons of potatoes first and then build up the quantity slowly.
What type of sweet potato is best for babies?
Highly palatable, great source of essential amino acids and high-quality proteins, all types of sweet potatoes are great for babies. The orange types are high in Vitamins A, E, C and K with carotenoids which are great for immunity, cognitive function, eye and heart health. The purple types have anthocyanins which regulate the liver.
How to store sweet potatoes?
When buying sweet potato for baby, select firm ones without bruises or soft spots. Store them in a dark and cool area and do not refrigerate. Cooked sweet potatoes can be refrigerated for 2 or 3 days and frozen for up to 3 months.
Precautions while eating sweet potatoes
Including too much of orange fleshed sweet potatoes may result in your baby’s nails turning yellow, which isn’t a harmful condition. It can be caused by the build-up of carotenoids which will resolve without any problems on its own when you reduce the intake. When first introducing sweet potatoes, start with a few spoonfuls and slowly increase quantity as the fibre can sometimes cause gassiness and bloating.
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