Can babies eat celery? Know why you should include celery in your baby’s diet and in what quantity for different ages in this article.
Celery belongs to the same botanical family as parsley. It originated in the Mediterranean regions and in the Middle East, where it was mostly used to flavor food. The Chinese used it as a medicine because of its various health benefits. Research on Celery by Wesam kooti et al. published in 2017 showed that Celery has powerful antioxidant properties that promote overall health by strengthening our body’s organ systems.
The Nutrition Profile of Celery:
Celery is composed of 95% water. It has vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. It is low in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol. If you are a weight watcher, then include it in your diet as it has high amounts of fiber (1.6g in 1 cup), which makes you feel full. It is high in natural sodium and contains other minerals like potassium, molybdenum, and folate. One cup of Celery supplies 30% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K as specified by the FDA. It also has vitamins A, C, and some of the B vitamins.
Can Babies Eat Celery
Celery can be introduced to your baby’s diet when s/he is about 6-8 months old and is introduced to solids. It is better to thinly slice Celery and cook it till soft and then mash it to feed your baby.
If your baby is more than a year old, you can give them cut Celery, either raw or cooked. You can cut it into thin sticks for older babies and offer it as finger food with healthy dips like hummus.
Celery Health Benefits
- Celery seed is a natural diuretic.
- Its high sodium and water content help maintain electrolyte balance. It is beneficial in summer as consuming it prevents dehydration.
- The dietary fiber in Celery helps regularise your baby’s bowel movements and eases digestive processes.
- Keeps the body alkalized and prevents heartburn because of its low acidity.
- Contains a chemical called phthalide, which lowers total cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, and reduces stress hormones in the blood.
- It is rich in antioxidants that protect your baby’s body from damage due to free radicals and prevent chronic diseases like rheumatism.
- Flavonoids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants in Celery reduce the risk of ulcers, gastritis, liver disease, gout, bronchitis, asthma, and psoriasis.
- Lowers blood sugar levels.
- Has anti-platelet aggregation properties.
- Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.
You can serve Celery raw in salads, with dips, or add it to smoothies. It has a mild flavor and can be added to soups, stocks, or casseroles. It retains most of its nutrients even when steamed.
- Cut a celery stalk into slivers, sauté in butter till soft. You can add this to other foods for added benefits and taste.
- You can puree celery and add to soups.
- Cut a celery stalk into 2 inch long pieces. Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil and cook the celery pieces for about 2 minutes. Next, add a tbsp of flour, saute, then add a cup of water. When it becomes tender, mash it and serve with salt and pepper to taste.
- Boil a cup of water in a saucepan and add one chopped celery stalk and 7 sweet potato cubes. Cook till the vegetables turn soft. Puree it, add mild seasoning and serve.
- You can give frozen celery sticks to a teething baby as the Eugenol in it has numbing properties and will soothe his/her discomfort.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Avoid feeding Celery to your baby if s/he is less than six months of age.
- Celery poses a choking risk for your baby. Hence, make sure you chop it and prepare it in age-specific safe ways to feed your baby.
- Talk to your pediatrician before introducing Celery to your baby’s diet for the first time.
- Celery can cause allergic reactions, either mild or even anaphylactic shock.
- Celery is exposed to high levels of pesticides. So, either wash it well or buy organic Celery.
- Consume the Celery within seven days of buying it, as its antioxidants levels start to decline after that time.
- Celery is not nutrient-dense and does not contribute much to your baby’s growth and development.
- It has very low calories and can lead to malnutrition.
- It has high sodium levels, so be careful to feed your baby only small amounts of it.
- Avoid giving too much Celery to your baby as the fiber in it can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Uncooked Celery in large amounts can interfere with iodine functioning in the thyroid and cause goiter( swelling in the neck).