Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies To Eat

is coconut oil safe for babies to eat,

When it comes to kids, parents do not leave any stone unturned to provide them with the best- whether it’s about upbringing or food. Coconut oil, being lauded as one of the healthy must-haves, puts parents in a dilemma about its effect on babies.

Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of coconut fruit. It is extensively used in foods, medicine, and industries. Rich in saturated fats, coconut oil is loaded with antioxidants and anti-microbial agents.

Made up of short and medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil oxidizes at a slow rate that increases its shelf life. It can last up to two years without going rancid. It is one of the reasons why coconut oil has taken the health food industry by storm.

Various studies reported that coconut oil improves the skin maturity of preterm babies. While it is considered safe and beneficial for topical application, what about its consumption?

Is Consumption Of Coconut Oil Safe?

Even though coconut oil is jam-packed with nutrients, health organizations like US Food and Drug Administration and American Heart Association advise limiting the consumption of coconut oil in large amounts.

Therefore, we will discuss if coconut oil is safe for kids or not.

Coconut oil is used as a flavoring agent, especially in curries in South Asian countries. Studies have shown that people consuming coconut oil are generally in good health with fewer modern diseases than in western nations where coconut oil is rarely used.

The overall effect of coconut oil also depends upon lifestyle.

Is Coconut Oil Safe For Babies To Eat?

While searching online, it is not uncommon to find coconut oil unhealthy. It is because most of these findings are based on refined or hydrogenated coconut oil that may contain trans fat. At the same time, people list it as unhealthy due to high saturated fats.

But, evidence is growing in support of extra virgin coconut oil, which is available in its pure form. Extra virgin or virgin coconut oil undergoes no or minimal processing that keeps the virtue of coconut oil intact.

Besides, the saturated fats in coconut oil differ from those in other oils and animal fats, making it a promising oil for consumption, even for babies.

How Is Virgin Coconut Oil Different From Other Oils?

Normal oils contain long-chain fatty acids that are hard to digest by the body. Over time, such fat tends to settle on the thighs, hips, abdomen, and other body parts.

Even though this is not a matter of concern for babies, in the long term, they pose health hazards. Therefore, such oils should be kept at a minimum in a kid’s diet.

On the contrary, coconut oil consists of medium and short-chain fatty acids that are easily digestible. They work as a great source of fuel for the babies.

What Makes Coconut Oil The Best For Babies’ Consumption?

We all know the importance of breast milk for babies. Breast milk is rich in lauric acid, a great source of medium chain fatty acids.

When it comes to oils, coconut oil is the highest natural source of lauric acid. Lauric acid and its derivative monolaurin constitute around 50% of coconut fat-derived lipid. It is one fact that makes coconut oil the best for babies’ consumption.

Apart from getting digested easily, lauric acid also provides immunity against infection.

Human bodies metabolize medium-chain fatty acids (present in coconut oil and breast milk) in such a way that the fats are used effectively.

Studies have also shown that medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil help in easy absorption of vitamins and minerals among infants. Furthermore, research shows that it may prevent the development of diabetes.

How To Use Coconut Oil In Baby Food Recipes?

Including good fat in a baby’s diet is essential, and virgin coconut oil is a great source of it. It provides energy, helps cell repair, and boosts brain, bone, and organs development.

One of the easiest ways of adding coconut oil to the baby’s diet is by putting it in baby foods, purees, and soups. You can also make your own healthy baby food or snack and add a teaspoon of coconut oil to make it healthier.

Here are a few coconut oil recipe ideas-

1. Fruit Or Vegetable Puree

  • Melt two tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan and add 4-5 cups of freshly cut vegetables or fruits of your choice.
  • Stir until the vegetables or fruits become very soft.
  • Pour the vegetables or fruits into a blender and add two tablespoons of coconut or breast milk. You can add more milk to get the desired consistency of the puree.
  • Let the mixture cool and serve it to your baby.

You can freeze the rest into an ice cube tray and thaw individual pieces before giving it to the baby.

2. Apricot, Pear, And Coconut Oil Puree

  • Cut the fruits and cook them in a saucepan on a medium flame. Add breast milk or coconut milk. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking the ingredients to the pan.
  • Cool the mixture and transfer it into a blender. Add one teaspoon of coconut oil and puree the mixture until it’s smooth.

Feed the freshly made puree to the baby and store the rest in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

3. Coconut Water For Babies

Coconut water is a great source of nutrients and electrolytes. If you can get a coconut fruit, strain the water, which is 100% sterile and pure, and give it to your baby.

Final Words

Virgin coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats and nutrients for babies. It can be added to babies’ diet; however, you should always start with a small amount.

As the baby adapts to coconut oil consumption, you can increase the amount and frequency. According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), allergic reactions to coconut are rare, and your little one will be able to eat coconut oil with no problem.

As the babies grow, you can add coconut oil to smoothies and baked cakes to enhance food’s nutritional value.

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