Learn the health benefits of guinea corn for babies and introduce the ingredient in your baby’s diet with certain precautions to reap the benefits.
What is Guinea corn?
Guinea corn or sorghum is a cereal grain which belongs to the grass family. It is not only tasty but has several health benefits too. Guinea corn traces its origin to Africa but is now eaten worldwide as a healthy food. It is high in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins. It has low-fat content but is calorie-rich from the carbohydrates it contains.
Guinea corn can be introduced to your baby at weaning time, between 6 to 8 months of age. Some doctors opine that it is better to add it to your baby’s diet when he is a year old as his digestive system is tougher to digest the fiber in guinea corn.
Health Benefits of Guinea Corn for Babies
Guinea corn is gluten-free and hence is a safe and nutritious option if your baby suffers from gluten intolerance. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels. For babies, Guinea Corn aids in increasing the weight of the baby.
It has minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which are essential for your baby’s bone health. The iron content prevents and treats anemia, and potassium maintains fluid balance and blood pressure. The magnesium in guinea corn aids the nerve and muscle function.
- It is low in sodium, which is beneficial for heart health. The corn helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.
- The high content of dietary fiber prevents constipation and soothes digestion.
- It’s protein-rich and hence, boosts your baby’s growth and development.
- Prevents obesity and reduces the risk of certain types of cancers.
- Helps maintain healthy vision and boosts immunity.
- Flavonoids in guinea corn regulate both sugar and insulin levels in the blood.
Guinea corn can be prepared for consumption in various ways. You can serve it as a drink by blending the powder with water, spices, and shea butter. It can be ground into flour and used to make bread, porridge, and pancakes. Nigerian mothers introduce guinea corn to their babies in the form of a custard called brown pap.
To prepare brown pap, you will need 1 cup guinea corn flour, 1/2 cup cold water, 3 to 5 cups boiling water, and sugar to taste.
- Dissolve the flour in the cold water to make a lump-free paste.
- Then add boiling water a little at a time while stirring continuously till it is thick and custard-like.
- Add sugar as desired and serve it warm to your baby.
- To make it more nutritive, you can add fruit purees and milk as well.
Side Effects and Precautions
Guinea corn can cause allergic reactions in some babies. Symptoms can include skin rashes, rhinitis, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Consult your doctor before introducing it into your baby’s diet.
If your baby has a weak digestive system or has gastrointestinal issues, avoid the fiber-rich guinea corn. In some babies, it can cause diarrhea or constipation. It can also cause a steep drop in blood sugar levels if your baby has diabetes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it.