Healthy herbs and super spices

Who hasn’t heard about “super foods,” like watercress, blueberries and spring onions. But what we didn’t know until recently is that there are also “super” herbs and spices. Here are some which will not only make your babies food taste even nicer, but could also boost/support their immune system, or provide some relief from ailments (NOTE: These are not cures and all medical issues need to be discussed with qualified health professionals).

iStock_000003721726XSmallYou can start adding many herbs and spices to your babies food from 6 months but as with food, it’s good to introduce them slowly, and one at time, to ensure no reaction. Some strong spices may be a bit much for your baby before they are 9 to 12 months.

Herbs

Basil

This has been used for years as a calming aid for indigestion. It tastes great and could benefit your baby if they’ve always suffered from reflux.

Dill

Is a warming herb and good source of iron, magnesium and calcium. It can be “strengthening” for the spleen, liver and stomach organs. Great with fish pie and babies tend to love the aniseed taste.

Coriander

Can help purify blood and helps the body absorb nutrients.

Oregano

This is natural antioxidant which makes it a very effective preventative against serious disease such as cancer. It’s also antibacterial and antiviral, so can help ward off some of those winter nasties.

Parsley

For such a common and plain herb, it’s actually quite powerful. It’s a good source of calcium and has more vitamin C than citrus fruits (so if your baby can’t eat citrus fruits, adding parsley to their food is a great alternative).  It helps the bodies defence mechanisms, which can in turn keep harmful bacteria at bay.

Thyme

Thyme has been used as a healing herb for hundreds of years and can help ease chest and respiratory problems.

Camomile

A calming herb it can be used to calm upset or colicy tummies or ease anxiety and nerves. Good after shock (like after a nasty fall, or even a bad dream).

Rosemary

This delicious herb contains properties that can help support the immune system. The aroma is thought to help the symptoms of cold. It’s mild and perfect for making all kinds of vegetable and meat taste more interesting.

Mint

A very refreshing herb used all over the world to settle stomachs and aid digestion. Can be added to many green vegetables to make delicious purees and soups. Also delicious infused in boiling water with a little honey (once your baby is 12 months old).

Spices

Turmeric

This is an antioxidant which helps to neutralize free radicals, therefore protecting against cancer. In fact recently it has been classed as a “super food” for it’s cancer fighting qualities. (Read this article to find out how wonderful this spice is.)

Garlic over a white backgroundGarlic

The health benefits and medicinal qualities of garlic have long been known. It has natural anti-viral and antibacterial properties that will help with the common cold and flu as well as gastric infections. It’s also used to help lower blood pressure. Add plenty of garlic to food in the run-up to winter and through the cold months.

Fennel

High in fibre, fennel is a great friend to the digestive system. With a strong aniseed flavour, it can be added to any meat or fish dish and your baby will love it. Fennel tea is thought to benefit colic-y babies (a small amount made up in a bottle halfway through the day, in addition to normal feeds)

Cinnamon

Can be used as an antidote to stomach upsets and diarrhoea and adds a delicious warming flavour to all kinds of fruit purees and deserts.

Cumin

Another digestion aiding spice which adds warmth and flavour to vegetarian and meat dishes. It’s thought the seeds also have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Ginger

A delicious warming spice which babies and young children love. It’s good for colds, helping to clear catarrh and blocked noses, and also helps prevent vomiting and nausea. Fresh ginger may be a little too strong but it’s ideal cooked in sweet and savoury recipes, and even in warmed drinks for winter (like apple juice).

Nutmeg

Another versatile spice for sweet and savoury dishes which can also aid digestion and ease nausea. Can be used to help colic.

Remember, there’s nothing more healthy for your baby than a varied diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Herbs and spices are there to compliment the main ingredients of healthy recipes. Adding some Turmeric to chicken nuggets for every meal won’t keep your child healthy!

Let us know if you can recommend any helpful herbs or splendid spices.

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