The Power of Fruits and Considerations
Although fruits can cause digestive problems when eaten together with foods that digest at a different rate, such as grains, proteins, and vegetables, they can aid digestion when they are eaten separately. They provide soluble fiber, which soaks up water as it passes through your baby’s digestive system. Insoluble fiber provides bulk to the digestive system to relieve and prevent constipation by triggering regular bowel movements. Sour fruits, such as lemons, limes, and grapefruits, stimulate and cleanse the liver of bile formation, which allows your baby’s body to break down and digest protein and fat. I recommend waiting until your baby is one year old to introduce citrus; observe his reaction when you do as he may get a mild rash or indigestion.
High concentrations of natural sugars in fruits can create a noticeable difference in your baby’s daily health. Excess fruits can create a green color in his bowel movements, which means that his stool is on the yin side of the spectrum. On the other hand, cooked or fresh fruits can help him relax when he is tense, or ease constipation.
When choosing fruits, consider whether they are organic, where they are grown, whether they are in season, and how they are ripened.
The most popular fruits in the United States, such as oranges, apples, and bananas, are often heavily sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Chemicals may not be inside the fruits, but the growth and quality can be affected. Large, shiny fruits are not always the most delicious or nutritious, and they may have been genetically altered to give them the most visual appeal. Whenever possible, buy organic fruits for your baby, especially ones with exposed skin. The “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” can help you prioritize your organic shopping budget.
Seasonal and Local Fruits
The most nutritious fruits you can offer your baby are the ones that are in season where you live. Vitamins and phytochemicals are at their peak vitality and energy when fruits are fresh. Buying local fruits ensures they were not picked green weeks ago, and then shipped to a store. Fresh local fruits are more balanced to meet your baby’s daily needs and also have the most flavor.
Naturally Ripened Fruits
Some fruits, such as bananas and avocados, sweeten after they are harvested, so you can purchase them when they are firm and slightly green, and then they can ripen at home. The starches in most other fruits do not become sweeter after they are picked, because they do not continue to ripen. If you do buy unripe fruits, let them ripen at room temperature before serving them.