Right since our childhood, we have always heard that green vegetables are the healthiest and it is important to consume them every day. Amongst them, bottle gourd/lauki is one and it’s known for its nutritional powerhouse and health benefits. However, when it comes to babies and children, we always think twice before giving them any food. There are many parents who wonder if they may give their newborn bottle gourd or lauki. The answer is yes, you can totally give them. So, let’s look into the nutritional information and the amazing health benefits of bottle gourd and its juice for babies and toddlers.
WHEN CAN I GIVE MY BABY BOTTLE GOURD FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Bottle gourd is a simple to digest vegetable that can be given to kids as young as six months old. When you first start, use steamed bottle gourd puree. Begin with 1 tablespoon of bottle gourd puree and progressively increase the amount as the baby grows. Of all the vegetables, this is perhaps the least reactive.
As it’s easily digestible, it is preferred for babies, the elderly, and the sick. The majority of the bottle gourd is water, with the rest containing important vitamins and minerals.
Bottle gourd – Nutritional facts
Bottle gourd contains 15 calories per 100 g with 96 percent water content. It is high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine, iron, magnesium, and manganese, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. (Food with B vitamins and why do you need them?)
10 Health benefits of bottle gourd for babies and toddlers:
Here are proven health benefits of bottle gourd for babies and toddlers:
1. Great source of vitamins and minerals
Bottle gourd is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin E and iron, folate which are important for a child’s growth and development. Parents must ensure that their children, especially infants, have a well-balanced diet to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, feeding your baby bottle gourd is an excellent option to start with.
2. Treats constipation and diarrhea
Bottle gourd acts as a natural laxative and helps to alleviate constipation and diarrhea in babies. This is due to the vegetable’s high water and fibre content, which aids in the cleaning of the digestive tract and facilitates bowel movement. (Home remedies and foods for constipation in kids)
3. Reduces acidity in babies
The bottle gourd has long been used to treat stomach ulcers. When a baby has indigestion, they can develop acidity. In most cases, indigestion causes the stomach to create more acid than is required, resulting in acidity. Bottle gourd can help to decrease this.
4. perfect thirst quencher
It is a great thirst quencher for kids because it contains roughly 96 percent water. It also prevents fatigue and keeps the body cool and rejuvenated in summers by lowering the body’s heat. ( What is the right time to introduce water for baby?)
5.Excellent deworming food for babies
Bottle gourd seeds are one of the traditional remedies for worms in the intestine. Bottle gourd seeds can be boiled, ground into a paste, and given to babies (not more than 2 teaspoons). (Deworming foods for kids)
6. Good for urinary infection
Infections of the urinary tract are fairly prevalent in babies. One of the causes for this is because the baby’s body does not have enough water. Infections can occur if there isn’t enough water to clear the bacteria out of the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections can be considerably reduced by feeding your baby bottle gourd on a regular basis.
Infants are more likely to develop liver illnesses such as jaundice or hepatitis. Feeding bottle gourd which is rich in vitamin C to your babies helps to remove toxins and also protects the kidneys and liver from oxidative damage.
8. Good for heart health
Bottle gourd/lauki has a store of essential minerals and trace elements that help in maintaining good heart health in babies as well as adults. Its low sodium and high potassium content help to lower cholesterol levels, control blood pressure and promote adequate blood flow to the heart.
9. Great stress reliever
One of the health benefits of bottle gourd is its inherent capacity to relieve stress. Bottle gourd has a significant quantity of choline, a neurotransmitter that aids in the improvement of brain functioning and the prevention of stress, depression, and other mental illnesses. This has a relaxing impact on both children and adults.
10. Promotes skin health
The high antioxidant – Vitamin C in bottle gourd helps to treat skin allergies and rashes in kids and create a youthful glow. Not only does including this vegetable in your diet help but putting its juice to your face offers you an instant, healthy glow. (What are the causes for acne in kids and how to treat them?)
Health benefits of bottle gourd juice for babies and toddlers:
Not just the vegetable but also its juice offers numerous health benefits. Bottle gourd meaning in hindi – lauki is quite popular for its juice. Let’s look into the benefits of lauki juice.
- The benefits of lauki juice are not confined to the body and skin; it is also beneficial to the hair. Premature hair greying in children is most common these days and is mainly due to nutritional deficiencies. Early in the morning, drinking a glass of bottle gourd juice can help prevent the formation of grey hair. ( Reason for hair fall in kids)
- Sesame oil mixed with the juice is an excellent remedy for insomnia. It’s a good idea to massage the scalp every night with this preparation. (not recommended for babies below 1 year)
- If your kids suffer from mental illness, epilepsy or stomach acidity or indigestion as well as mouth ulcers then bottle gourd juice is a great remedy.
- The bitter form of bottle gourd is used as a cardiac tonic, a poison antidote, and a tonic for bronchitis, cough, asthma, and liver illnesses. You can give a teaspoon of this juice to your babies.
- A glass of bottle gourd juice mixed with a pinch of salt can help minimize sodium loss from the body (salt can be avoided for babies below 1 year of age).
- Bottle gourd juice is an alkaline mix that helps to reduce the burning feeling in the urinary tract.
- Benefits of lauki juice, extracted from leaves is also proven medicine for jaundice.
Steps to prepare bottle gourd/ lauki juice:
Following are the steps for making lauki juice: (Summer drinks for kids)
- Cut off a piece of the end and taste it first, then proceed. Using a lauki that has a bitter flavour is not recommended.
- Then, peel off the entire skin from the lauki, and cut it into little pieces. Mix them in a blender.
- Black pepper and salt can be added to suit your tastebuds. You can also increase the flavour by adding mint leaves, ginger to your juice. ( Avoid pepper and salt for children below 1 year of age)
- You can also add a few drops of lemon or amla to the lauki juice to enhance its flavour and antioxidant content.
- Combining other veggies with lauki juice is not recommended because it may have a detrimental impact on your health.
Before giving your infant bottle gourd, there are several precautions to follow:
- Baby’s age: When a baby is about 6 months old, bottle gourd can be introduced to his or her diet. It is critical to introduce semi-solid foods during this stage for the baby’s health and development.
- How to offer bottle gourd to your baby: Peeling the hard outer covering, cutting it into little pieces, and heating them is one of the best ways to provide bottle gourd to your baby. The vitamins in it are washed out during the boiling process, so don’t boil it. Steaming is a better option.
- How much bottle gourd to feed: The amount of bottle gourd to use is determined by the baby’s age. When the baby is at the age of six months, only a couple of tablespoons are required. As the infant grows, you can increase the amount of bottle gourd.
More and more parents throughout the world are adopting bottle gourd into their baby’s diets as they learn about the health benefits of bottle gourd. Bottle gourd, on the other hand, should not be consumed uncooked because it might be detrimental to the stomach and intestines. (7 foods to boost immunity in kids)
In conclusion, bottle gourd is beneficial to both the physical and mental health of your children. It will make a world of difference if you incorporate it into the baby’s weekly menu.
Recipe: lauki ke kofte/bottle gourd balls with hidden herbs and nuts
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