Honey is a delicious and healthy natural ingredient that everyone knows about. It is one of nature’s most wonderful gifts, and it can benefit a child’s health in a number of ways. It is a natural sweetener, thus it is preferable to refined sugar. Most parents have switched from refined sugar to honey and jaggery as alternatives. It has a good nutritional value, as well as a high amount of phytochemicals and flavonoids. It has long been utilised in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of purposes.
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When can I give honey to the baby?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by parents to their paediatricians. Honey has excellent therapeutic properties that can really help us, however, it is not recommended for newborns under the age of one year. It is, of course, natural and beneficial, but your baby is not yet ready for it. This is to prevent infant botulism, a disease that can be caused in children under the age of one year consuming honey.
Clostridium botulinum, a spore-forming bacteria found in honey, can proliferate in the intestine. Because newborns have an immature digestive system that cannot fight off clostridium spores, the bacteria releases toxins that might irritate the little one’s gut. However, is safe for children over the age of one since their digestive systems are mature enough to eliminate bacteria from the body.
Honey nutritional value:
It provides numerous health benefits as well as a high nutritional value. It also has trace levels of vitamins and minerals.
Health benefits of honey for kids
Some of the amazing health benefits to include honey in a kid’s diet for growth and development are:
1. Serves as an excellent nutrient storehouse
Honey’s nutritive value is remarkable, as it contains the majority of vital nutrients. Because children are fussy eaters, they often skip out on many of these nutrients, which honey might help to fill. Honey is high in calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, niacin, and riboflavin, all of which aid in the prevention of nutritional deficiencies. (7 health foods for kid’s daily nutrition)
2. Helps in digestion
Honey is an excellent food for boosting digestion in children and treating digestive problems. It is a good prebiotic that aids in the maintenance of healthy gut flora. It also aids in the treatment of constipation and speeds up the process of digestion. In addition to preventing stomach ulcers, honey can help with indigestion, bloating, and flatulence.
3. Treats sore throat/ cough
One of the most common honey benefits for health is – its cure for sore throat /cough. It has been used in Ayurveda and other natural therapies to treat a sore throat in various forms. Honey is antimicrobial in nature and can help soothe a dry, sore throat. It coats the throat and helps sick children sleep easier, especially if they have a nighttime cough. (7 foods to boost immunity in kids)
4. Relieves constipation and diarrhea
Honey can aid with constipation and improve digestive function, but it can also be used as a home treatment for diarrhea. Honey has been shown in studies to improve the recovery process by delaying bowel movements. It’s also a more appealing alternative for kids. (Foods rich in fibre to treat constipation)
5. Relieves gastric reflux
Honey can be used to relieve acid reflux symptoms in children. Honey helps to treat this problem by lining the oesophagus and stomach wall. This limits the upward flow of food and stomach fluid, providing relaxation.
6. Helps in healing
Honey is well-known for its healing properties. It is used to treat lesions, bug bites, burns, boils, and sores due to its antibacterial and wound-healing characteristics. In kids, a mixture of honey, and olive oil may aid in the treatment of damaged skin and disorders such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis.
7. Heals mouth ulcers
Mouth ulcers can be extremely painful, especially in children. Applying little honey mixed with turmeric on the mouth ulcer helps in healing faster.
8. Heals toothaches
When you have a bad toothache, honey is an excellent pain reliever. Honey, combined with a pinch of cinnamon, is an effective toothache remedy. Make a paste with one teaspoon of cinnamon and 2-3 teaspoons of honey and apply it immediately to the painful teeth. (Home remedies for tooth decay)
9. Alleviates muscle pain
Honey can aid kids with muscle pain and even growing pains. Drinking a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey will help greatly.
10. Treats asthma
Honey can aid children with asthma, especially if they experience symptoms in the middle of the night. It has the ability to relieve congestion and allows for easier breathing.
Honey use for colds and coughs in kids:
It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which is why it is used as a natural cold and cough relief. Giving pasteurized honey before sleep provides some relief from cough and cold symptoms in children over the age of one year. (Home remedies and foods for cough and cold ).
Honey is used in various ways, especially during sickness. Adding honey to warm water with a pinch of tulsi has proven to be effective, and it is also the most usual method of use. This combination will help the child’s throat feel better, boosts immunity while also increasing his or her metabolism.
How much honey can my child consume?
Avoid giving honey to children below one year of age. For, children with the age of
- 1- 2 years: 2 tsp honey
- 3- 6 years: 2 ½ tsp honey
- Above 6 years : 3 tsp honey
Ways to include honey in your child’s diet :
Honey should be progressively introduced into a child’s diet. This will allow you to check for any potential allergic reactions. However, you can add honey to milk, spread it on bread, drizzle on pancakes and can use it as an alternative to refined sugar in baked goods.
Follow these precautions while giving honey to your child
Here are few things you can keep in mind while giving honey to your child.
- Honey should not be given to children in excess. It is high in calories and contains free sugars like fructose, which can lead to unwanted weight gain, dental caries, and gastric issues.
- Check the manufacturing date and ingredients listed on the label.
- Do not leave it open without a lid, as it may get contaminated by insects and dust.
- Store the honey bottle in a cool place.
- Honey can sometimes lead to breathing difficulty in children caused due to allergic reactions. So, if you identify any such problem, it is better to reach out to your pediatrician immediately.
Raw honey or processed honey: which is better?
Raw honey has nutrients in its natural state, but it also includes natural poisons which can induce honey poisoning showing symptoms such as low blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting. When honey is processed, the toxins are diluted and may not have a negative impact on the body. Honey that has been processed is also devoid of pollen grains and dust particles. This implies that processed honey has fewer hazards than raw honey, but raw honey has a higher nutritional value than processed honey.
Honey contains nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in simple sugar, making it a healthier alternative to refined sugar. Remember to gradually introduce honey so that your child gets familiar with the flavour and their body adjusts to the new dietary item. Once your child has developed a taste for honey, you may incorporate it into his or her balanced diet to make it more healthy.
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