From curing cavities to solving an array of skin issues, coconuts have emerged as an unlikely hero for parents and health food gurus in recent years. But what about coconut butter for babies? Odds are, you find yourself using these unsuspecting tree nuts in everything from the cream you smooth on your baby’s diaper rash to the water you drink post-workout. But one way you may not have had coconut yet? As a butter. Here are the benefits to this smooth operator, along with how to serve it to your child.
WHAT IS COCONUT BUTTER?
What peanut butter is to peanuts, coconut butter is to, well, coconuts. Made in a similar process, coconut butter is produced by blending the white meat of a coconut to a smooth, spreadable consistency. It can then be eaten as a fruit dip, blended into smoothies and coffee, spread on toast, or substituted for butter in vegan recipes. It’s gluten-free too!
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT BUTTER FOR BABIES?
From your brain to your belly, coconut butter has more health benefits than you can shake a palm frond at, including:
Coconut butter is a rich source of lauric acid, a booster for those tiny immune systems and super-hero-level destroyer of harmful bacteria and viruses. (The HEAL Foundation even ranked coconut as the second best immunity-boosting source for newborns―just after their mother’s milk!) Additionally, the easy-to-digest medium-chain fatty acids in coconut butter can help prevent and treat diseases like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and even cancer.
Good source of iron
Unlike its oily counterpart, coconut butter provides five percent of the recommended daily value of iron. Which is good news considering a deficiency in iron can negatively affect brain function along with the strength of your hair, skin, and nails.
Another key nutrient lacking in coconut oil? Fiber. Not so with the butter. One tablespoon of coconut butter contains about two grams of dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
IS COCONUT BUTTER FOR BABIES REALLY A THING?
You butter believe it! Healthy fats are essential for those quickly-growing baby cells and aid in cell repair, brain development, and bone growth. Studies have even shown that limiting fat in baby’s diet can result in growth failure in height or weight.
There’s almost no wrong way to serve coconut butter in baby food or toddler meals. Babies will love it blended into their purees for a buttery boost, or you can use it to cook veggies to a tender consistency. For toddlers, serve it as a dip for fruits or smear a tablespoon on an piece of whole wheat toast for a satisfying breakfast.