Why Turmeric Is One of The Best Spices You Can Give Your Baby

Posted on Sep 10 2009 - 5:10pm by Christine

Turmeric is so much more than just a ingredient for flavouring curries!

It has extensive health-promoting properties – which people in countries around the world have both recognized and taken advantage of for many years – and may be particularly important in the diet of young children.

Today we’re looking at this richly coloured spice in a little more detail – and suggesting ways in which you can include it in your homemade baby food recipes.

Turmeric is a relatively mild spice and is related to ginger. It has a warm yellow colour which you’ll probably be familiar with due to its extensive use in curries – but it is used to colour many other foods, including some cheeses and even butter!

Turmeric contains curcumin – a polyphenol that makes it yellow. And it’s the circumin that makes turmeric so beneficial to health – indeed, there have been many studies investigating circumin’s powers!

Turmeric is revered for its anti-bacterial properties and is believed to prevent infection when sprinkled into cuts and wounds.

It’s also believed play an important role in digestion and – in some Asian countries – is taken as a supplement to help relieve stomach conditions like  heartburn.  This interesting article from the Bastyr Center for Natural Health describes how some cultures even find that turmeric helps with colic – and that scientific studies have demonstrated how it can help reduce intestinal inflammation.

Turmeric has powerful anti-oxidant properties, too, and may help protect the body against various forms of cancer. And in later life,  the regular consumption of turmeric is believed to help lower cholesterol.

Turmeric  also strengthens the immune system – in fact, its one of the ingredients we listed in this post as one of the best immunity-boosting foods, providing natural protection for your baby against some of the nasty viruses floating around these days. This may also help build your baby’s resistance to allergies.

What’s more, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which may help reduce the symptoms of asthma – and, applied to the skin, it is even believed to help relieve eczema, too!

One of the most  interesting discoveries about turmeric in terms of infant nutrition is that, it may help prevent childhood leukemia. As this 2004 article from www.leukaemia.org  explains, a possible association between turmeric and lower childhood leukemia rates was made after scientists noticed that children in Asia have far less incidences of the disease. This has been connected to the fact that turmeric is much more widely used in Asian cuisine than in western cooking – and researchers have suggested that turmeric may help prevent leukemia by limiting the damage caused by environmental pollutants and other risk factors.

Using turmeric in your baby food recipes

Although turmeric may be considered useful in reducing allergic reactions, this doesn’t mean that it may not be an allergen in itself!

ALL foods – including herbs and spices – have the potential to trigger an allergic reaction, so it’s important to

  • Speak to your doctor before introducing turmeric to your baby
  • Treat turmeric as you would any new food and introduce it to your baby by adding it to foods your baby is already safely enjoying.  Observe the four day rule  and do not introduce any other new foods at the same time – then it will be easy to tell if the turmeric has caused any allergic reaction or tummy upset in your child.

You can – of course – use turmeric in your curry baby food recipes, but here are a few more ideas…

  • Try adding it to applesauce for a sweet/savoury flavour – it’s surprisingly good!
  • Stir a little into baby’s veggie purees.
  • Mix turmeric with natural yogurt and cumin for a simple but healthy dip.
  • Add to the cooking water to give rice an interesting new colour!

Warning:

Turmeric stains just about everything it touches! Cover the carpets when you’re serving baby food containing turmeric – and why not try what WE do? Just set aside one bib for highly coloured baby foods (we call it our curry bib!). Despite thorough washing, it’s irrevocably stained – so now we have one ruined bib which comes out every time curry (or beets!) are on the menu!

Sources:
Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin
WHFoods – Turmeric
umm.edu
Curcumin: the Indian solid gold

Do you use turmeric in your homemade baby food recipes? Have you experienced for yourself the benefits of consuming this spice? Please do leave your comments!

 

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13 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Selma September 10, 2009 at 8:23 pm -

    Great post! I’m happy I can spice up my baby’s food a little bit! Love the blog and all the ideas and tips!

  2. Belinda October 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm -

    I personally had used turmeric nearly 2 years’ ago. I was babysitting my new born granddaughter and I developed carpal tunnel syndrome on both wrists. The pain I suffered was terrible but I didn’t seek medical help as I didn’t (still don’t) like taking painkillers. My condition had reached a point where I could not even lift a cup of water to my lips and babysitting my granddaughter was becoming a daily torture. Then help came.

    I have been getting my supplements from a direct sale company which only sells products of natural ingredients. I received a newsletter from it about a new product from Belgian named Turmerin (made from turmeric) which was good for arthritic pain and also very effective for inflammation. I ordered a bottle (a month’s supply if taken at 2 capsules per day). I only took one capsule a day and within 2 days, the pain on both wrists was much reduced and I was almost completely free from pain by the time I finished the whole bottle. I continued taking another bottle to make sure the pain would not return. At present I’m still taking it once or twice a day to for a knee pain which was due an old injury.

  3. Akila October 11, 2009 at 10:42 pm -

    Hi there,
    Turmeric is used in almost every Indian dish for its antiseptic property. A pinch of turmeric is added to dhaal (lentil) , along with water before (pressure) cooking it. The cooked dhaal is added to 1 spoon of mashed cooked rice, 1 table spoon of ghee(clarified butter) is added to this. Mix well & this dhaal rice is an every-day meal for 1yr & up babies, in the South Indian households.
    Besides turmeric is added when cooking any vegetable or green, or when sterilising cauliflower.

  4. Christine October 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm -

    Thank you so much for your sharing your experiences with turmeric. The more we learn about this spice, the more we’re including it in our recipes, not just for our little ones but for us big ones, too! 🙂

  5. komal irfan April 7, 2010 at 4:46 am -

    Turmeric also works as magic for inner wounds of mothers having c section..

    just add 1/2 tea spoon of turmeric in warm milk … and the healing

    will become very rapid…plus turmeric can also b used by such mothers

    in semolina…also every mother use turmeric + semolina + dry fruits

    in the region of Pakistan…

  6. desin October 21, 2010 at 8:57 am -

    do you know what they call alternative remedies that work.?

    Medicine

    its not a hard concept

  7. Christine October 21, 2010 at 9:54 am -

    Hmm – like others who’ve responded to this post, we prefer a natural alternative to medicine wherever possible. In fact, the more healthy foods/spices/herbs etc we consume, the less need for medicine at all!

  8. Lummum March 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm -

    My 15 month old is constantly on antibiotics; atleast 3
    antibiotics every 2 months and I was not very happy with this.
    he mainly gets either ear or throat infection.
    Finally I listened to my mum and started giving him around 1/6th
    tea spoon turmeric powder with 1/2teaspoon honey, two times
    in a day and this seems to be working. Though he is not
    totally off infection yet, the antibiotic dose has dropped
    dramatically.

  9. Alana June 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm -

    I just started using essential oil of turmeric directly on my 7mo old’s eczema. She has battled severe head to toe eczema for the last five months. Only strong prescribed steroids have helped, but I think turmeric may rescue her from these scary drugs. It dramatically reduces the inflammation. She’s yellow, but looking healthier.

  10. Kris June 15, 2015 at 11:21 am -

    Just an FYI,
    The Sun get curry stains out. Do not use bleach as this sets it. Just wash as normal, hang out to dry and Voi La stain is gone!

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