Before feeding anything to your child, it’s always to ask and be sure. So, can babies eat bell peppers? Find out all the benefits and cations below.
Bell peppers, botanically known as Capsicum annum, belong to the same family as potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes. They are native to Mexico, northern South America, and Central America.
These peppers change into different colors like green, yellow, red, orange, white, and purple as they ripen. They have a crunchy texture and a unique flavor. Though they are fruits, they are used as a vegetable, spice, or condiment in cooking. Bell peppers have been used in traditional medicine as an antiseptic, a cure for cough, sore throat, parasitic infections, and rheumatism. Several studies have found that eating bell peppers is beneficial for heart health and lowers the death risk from cardiovascular diseases.
Constituents of Bell Pepper
Bell peppers are composed of 94% water, 5% carbohydrates, and low amounts of fat and protein. They have a high vitamin C concentration, almost 97% of the daily value in a 100 g reference amount.
They also have high fiber content and vitamin E, B6, and folate in relatively fewer amounts. In the Scoville chili heat scale, bell peppers are at the bottom as they do not produce capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives the hot spiciness that other chilies have. Red bell peppers are more nutritious than green, containing twice the vitamin C and eight times the latter’s vitamin A present. The red and yellow peppers are also sweeter than the green ones.
Can Babies Eat Bell Peppers
Bell peppers can be introduced into your baby’s diet when s/he is around six months of age. The vivid colors and sweet taste of bell peppers make them an attractive food for your little one. The vitamin C in orange, red, and yellow bell peppers facilitate iron absorption when fed to your baby along with iron-rich foods like lentils.
- Bell peppers are rich sources of micronutrients that are essential for the smooth functioning of your baby’s body systems.
- The high Vitamin C content boosts immunity, skin health, and promotes wound healing.
- Vitamin A content, which is 93% of the daily recommended intake(RDI) in bell peppers, increases immunity and maintains healthy vision.
- It has vitamin B6, which is necessary for red and white blood cell production.
- It is rich in antioxidants that reduce cell damage due to free radicals and prevent diseases and delays aging.
- Antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties that prevent cancer.
- Potassium and antioxidants maintain heart health.
- Vitamin C and iron in bell peppers help prevent and treat anemia.
- Magnesium in bell peppers promotes nerve health and helps soothe anxiety.
- Vitamin B6 boosts metabolic functions in your baby’s body and promotes the secretion of hormones that regulate his/her mood and sleep cycles.
- It has a low glycemic index and hence helps regulate blood sugar levels. An animal study showed that bell pepper increased insulin sensitivity in diabetic rats.
- Vitamin K in bell peppers helps strengthen your baby’s bones.
- It promotes gastric mucus production, which protects the gastric lining and prevents the formation of ulcers.
How to Prepare Bell Peppers for Babies
Your baby can eat raw bell peppers or you cook the peppers in soups, salads, curries, pizza, stir-fries, egg, pasta, and rice dishes. Below are a few recipes for different age groups:
For 6 to 9 months old babies
- Remove the seeds, stem, and white portion from inside the bell pepper. Now roast the peppers until they become soft and chewy. Slice the peppers and serve it to your kid with hummus or any other dip.
- Take a bell pepper and puree it until smooth and add to rice, lentil, or soups to enhance the taste as well as the nutrients.
- Steam chopped pieces of 1 small potato and once the potato pieces become tender, add chopped bell pepper and steam for 5 minutes. Cool and puree the mixture till smooth. Serve seasoned with powdered cumin and celery dressing.
- Deseed and remove the stems from bell pepper and slice it into thin pieces. Serve this to your baby and if they don’t like the taste, you can combine it with other fruits or vegetables and serve as a salad.
- You can even add chopped bell peppers to rice and pasta dishes or to scrambles eggs.
- Allergic reactions to bell peppers are rare but introduce it to your baby in a minimal amount and watch out for allergy symptoms.
- Do consult your pediatrician before feeding your baby bell peppers for the first time.
- Always remember to prepare the bell peppers while taking your baby’s age into consideration.
- Raw bell pepper can pose a choking hazard to your baby. Always feed softly cooked peppers in very thin pieces.
- Too much consumption of bell pepper can lead to diarrhea, heartburn, and an upset stomach.