Beets are highly nutritious, not to mention gorgeous! They can uplift any dish you add them to, but I’m sure you’re asking: Can I give my Baby Beetroot?
We’ve heard of nutritional experts across the world asking us to eat a ‘rainbow-colored’ diet, which is to basically include foods of different colors so we get a wide range of nutrients. When you think of a diet like this, your mind probably goes to spinach, colored bell peppers or purple cabbage. However, many of us miss out another beautifully colored vegetable – the humble beetroot!
Like potatoes and carrots, beets are also a root vegetable botanically known as Beta vulgaris. Earlier, beets were actually grown for their greens, the beet plant. Beets are said to have originated in Ancient Rome and Greece although they’re now cultivated in several parts of the world. The main beetroot cultivating areas in India are Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Although most of us are familiar with the bright pinkish purple beetroot, there are actually different colors of beets, including yellow and striped. The leaves and the root of the beet plant can be consumed and are popular in many global cuisines. Due to their naturally sweet nature, beets are used in both sweet and savory dishes. Beetroots are filled with anti-oxidants, fiber, folate, potassium, iron and vitamin C, due to which the plant has also been used in traditional medicine.
Health Benefits of Beetroot
- Improves immunity
- Lowers blood pressure
- Aids muscle strength
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Improves blood flow
- Prevents cancer
- Supports brain health
- Prevents anemia
- Improves gut health
- Improves exercise performance
Can I give my Baby Beetroot?
Root vegetables are generally safe as first foods for babies, and beets are no exemption. Once your baby completes 6 months of age, you can introduce beetroots. Begin with steamed and pureed beets. After 8 months, steamed soft beetroot pieces can be given as finger foods. You can also add small amounts of beetroot puree to add color to any dish.
While introducing any new food, offer it only in the first half of the day. Once baby has become familiar with the food, you can give it any time of the day. Even though the 3 day rule is obsolete now, it’s better to be followed if there is a history of allergies in the family.
Beetroot allergies are rare but some people can still get them. If the child displays symptoms like hives, swollen tongue and face, sneezing, rashes, light headedness, runny nose, itchy eyes, flush, breathing difficulty, nausea or vomiting, he needs to be rushed to the doctor right away.
Tips to Select and Store Beets
Whey buying beetroot, choose smaller, firm and dark beetroots as they are the freshest. Avoid beetroots that have blemishes, are hairy or with roots. They can be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Wrap the beets loosely in a paper towel and they’ll last for 2-3 weeks.
Wash the beetroots only before you are going to prepare them and not before refrigeration. Be sure to trim the leaves before preparing the beetroot. They can be steamed or cooked in a pressure cooker to save time and energy.
Healthy Beetroot Recipes for Babies and Kids
You can find healthy beetroot recipes for babies and kids in this post.