Your Baby Will Love Mangoes!
Did you know mangoes are one of the best immune-boosting foods you can give your baby? That is because mangoes are loaded with Vitamin A – a super supportive nutrient for a healthy immune system – and contain a higher level of carotenoids than almost any other fruit. Carotenoids are plant compounds (also called phytonutrients) which studies have shown may reduce the risk of cancer as well as heart disease in adulthood – so start baby on those mangoes early in life! The immediate gratification of giving your baby mangoes today is that those carotenoids may also help to ward off the common cold. Mangoes are low in fat, low in calories but very high in fiber. So, here is another good food to help keep your baby regular. Remember, sometimes when starting solid foods, your baby’s digestive system may experience some normal changes, such as inconsistent bowel movements due to daily changes in fiber, or an increase in abdominal gas due to incompletely digested proteins.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Mangoes
- Vitamin A - supports baby’s immune system, skin, eyes, and bones
- Vitamin C - supports baby’s immune system, mucous membranes and respiratory system
- Folate – this is another B vitamin that supports brain and nervous system health
- Vitamin K – this is a critical fat-soluble nutrient for baby’s cardiovascular system and a vitamin necessary to enable the blood’s clotting capacity
- Potassium – this is an electrolyte mineral that supports healthy cardiovascular function and kidney function
- Magnesium – this is a mineral necessary to the body’s bone and skeletal health, and ultra-important in regulating energy production inside the cell
- Sodium – this is another electrolyte mineral that similar to potassium is needed to regulate cardiovascular function and water balance in the kidneys
Aren’t Mangoes Highly Allergenic?
True, the allergenic potential of this food might be something for you to consider before introducing to your baby. Because mangoes are in the same plant family as cashews, pistachios, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, people with a known family allergy to cashews, pistachios, and/or poison ivy, may be at risk to have potential allergic reactions to mangoes. This reaction can be as severe as anaphylaxis, however, anaphylaxis due to mango allergy is not common. That being said, we always advise knowing your family allergy history and consulting with your pediatrician if you or anyone else in the family has a nut allergy or severe reactions to poison ivy/oak.
How to Select, Store and Prepare Mangoes for Baby Food
According to the Environmental Working Group, mangoes are not on the list known as the “dirty dozen” (foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides). Therefore, purchasing organic mangoes is entirely up to you. When selecting mangoes, give the fruit a gentle push with your thumb; the fruit should be slightly soft and also fragrant. Mangoes can be green, orange or yellow in color. The skin should be uniform and show no signs of bruising. Mangoes may be ripened on your counter, away from other fruits, because each fruit produces its own gaseous by-products which may speed up the ripening of other fruits nearby. Refrigeration is only recommended after the mangoes have been cut or pureed.
When introducing mango to your baby, you do not necessarily need to cook it if it is already ripe and soft. If your baby is younger than 8 months old when you decide to introduce mango, you may want to lightly steam (or roast – yum!) the mango to help break down the cellulose and high fiber content, making it slightly easier to digest. One important note, mangoes contain a high level of natural enzymes in the fruit pulp, thereby making it one of Mother Nature’s easiest to digest foods.