Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Can babies have spices?

The gourmet baby food I've been preparing lately has me wondering, can my seven month old have spices? Although I would never add butter, salt, or sugar to her homemade baby food, would a dash of cinnamon hurt or help? I read an article where a famous chef added spice to her children's food regularly to expand the palate. Expanding the palate is fine, but shouldn't babies learn to appreciate the tastes of the real thing before they long for added goodness? My plan is to let L experience as many plain foods as possible before I start (literally) peppering them with spices.

That said, just like with grown-ups, spices can have a holistic healing effect on babies. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying some common herbal remedies to help my baby with an upset tummy. When your baby is at least 8 months old, try these spices added to baby food to help some common ailments. *You should always ask your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby's diet.*

1. BASIL - Basil can relieve gas and soothe stomach upsets.

2. CAYENNE - Cayenne pepper perks up appetite, improves digestion and relieves gas, nausea, and indigestion. The herb also thins phlegm and eases its passage from the lungs, thus helping to prevent and treat coughs, colds and bronchitis.

3. CINNAMON - Cinnamon helps reduce anxiety and stress, also has anti-bacterial properties.

4. CLOVE - Clove can help stop tooth pain.

5. DILL - Dill has been used to soothe the digestive tract and treat heartburn, colic and gas for thousands of years.

6. FENNEL - Fennel can ease bloating, gas pains, and digestive spasms in the small and large intestines. Women who are breastfeeding may find that fennel, which works in a way similar to the body's hormones, increases milk flow.

7. GARLIC - Compounds in this familiar bulb kill many organisms, including bacteria and viruses that cause earaches, flu and colds. Research indicates that garlic is also effective against digestive ailments and diarrhea.

8. GINGER - Ginger settles the stomach, relieves vomiting, eases pain from gas and diarrhea, and is effective as a pain reliever.

9. MINT - Herbalists the world over use mint, as a premier stomach tonic, to counteract nausea and vomiting, promote digestion, calm stomach muscle spasms, relieve flatulence, and ease hiccups.

10. OREGANO - Oregano contains at least four compounds that soothe coughs and can also aid in digestion.

11. PARSLEY - Diuretic herb that helps flush out your system by producing urine.

12. ROSEMARY - Contains 19 chemicals with antibacterial action that help fight infection.

13. SAGE - The oils found in sage are both antiseptic and antibiotic, so it can help fight infection.

14. THYME - Thyme increases blood-flow which can lead to faster healing times and relaxes respiratory muscles.

15. TURMERIC - Turmeric is packed with antioxidants.

For more information on healing herbs visit Healthy Holistic Living, a great site with lots of good information.

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