If you’re looking to punch up the flavor of your baby’s next meal, it might be time to head for the root―the ginger root, that is. But this nutrient-dense plant is so much more than the seasoning behind your favorite cookie houses or herbal tea. In fact, studies have shown that ginger can be a nutritional boost used to treat everything from upset tummies to chronic pain. But can babies eat ginger and is it safe for their tiny tummies to consume? Here’s what you need to know.
WHAT IS GINGER?
Originally from Southeast Asia, ginger is a flowering plant that now grows throughout the world. The ginger you eat is actually made from the root and can be served fresh (what you find on a plate of sushi), dried as a spice, or distilled into an extract. For thousands of years, ginger has been used as part of cultural remedies as well as a cooking ingredient, similar to its “cousin” turmeric. (Both plants are part of the Zingiberaceae family.)
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GINGER?
Can help alleviate nausea
If you like to suck on any kind of pregnancy lollipop while your little baby was still a bun in the oven, odds are you’ve benefited from ginger’s nausea-reducing properties. One study also found that ginger can help alleviate indigestion and stomach issues by helping the stomach to empty faster when taken prior to a meal.
Can reduce inflammation
Compounds in ginger called gingerols have been shown to reduce inflammation and squash pain, including pain caused by the menstrual cycle and osteoarthritis. Ginger can help with pain when it comes to a cold and cough as well as sore throats.
Improves cardiovascular health
This powerhouse root can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood clot risks, and stabilize blood sugar levels for greater overall health.
CAN BABIES EAT GINGER?
Short answer? Yes―but introducing ginger slowly is recommended. Loading up your little one’s diet with ginger can result in digestive complications, but adding a small amount to meals regularly can have amazing effects, including reducing gas, improving liver function, and reducing respiratory issues.
A bit of grated ginger can be a great way to flavor grains like quinoa, or you can pair it with a sweeter fruit (like pears) in a puree to mellow the taste. Dried ginger can also be added to meals as a seasoning, or you could even let your finger-food chomping toddler have a little piece of fresh ginger to suck on when their tummy is upset. Introducing spices like ginger and turmeric to your baby at an early age trains their palates for adventurous eating in the future.