Eggs are good for your baby, but start slow

Eggs have unique health benefits for kids. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

By Dr Seema Khanna

Eggs can be seen as E: Energy through proteins | G: Gastritis Curer | G: Growth & body building | S: Synergy food . An egg provides 70 calories, 6 gm of proteins, 0 carbs and is thus marked as a superfood because it is loaded with some rare nutrients that we don t get from other foods. Eggs contain folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, phosphorus and selenium.

Eggs are high in cholesterol but do not raise our blood cholesterol because when dietary cholesterol increases, liver produces less cholesterol. It rather raises high density HDL in our body, which is good for our health. Eggs also contain choline, which is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain along with various other functions. It also contains lutin and zenamthin (an antioxidant) which majorly benefits eye health.

Packed with high quality protein and all essential amino acids, this inexpensive and versatile food can be served in different ways like boiled eggs, fried, poached, scrambled or even added to dough and given indirectly to the child. Eggs can be introduced to a baby at the age of nine months to one year. Initially, soft boiled eggs (boiled for six to seven minutes) should be given as they are easily digestible. One egg a day is sufficient for the daily regime of the baby. Choline in the egg is a very important nutrient for brain development. Eggs are whole food for a one-year-old but 2 per cent of kids can experience allergy reactions. The yolk of egg does not comprise proteins but the white part does, with the potential to produce mild to severe reactions.

When a person suffers food allergy, their body responds to it as a dangerous ingredient. A child s immune system is not fully developed and may not be able to handle certain proteins in the egg white. As a result, they might get rashes, feel sick, experience a painful abdomen, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, running nose or troubled breathing. The severity of the symptoms depends on the child s immune system. When introducing new foods to your baby, it is always a good idea to add them slowly and one at a time. This way, you can watch for potential reactions.

A good way to start with eggs is to introduce only the yolk at first. Egg yolks can be mixed and minced with a small quantity of breast milk or cow s milk or double-toned milk and be given at breakfast hour or as a mid-morning meal. After a gap of 15 days, soft-boiled egg white can also be introduced in mashed form. Eggs are generally considered to be safe early food but if there s a family history of allergic reactions, then parents should be cautious of introducing it to kids. Otherwise, eggs are the healthiest food on the planet.

(The writer is a consultant nutritionist.)