Baby Superfood: Eggs





Eggs are a baby superfood that we recommend to both babies and pregnant or breastfeeding moms. They contain some key nutrients for a baby's development that are so beneficial that they should definitely be introduced during the first month of solids. We are going to go into some reasons why. 

Note: We recommend taking prenatal supplements during the length of the pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding up until you know for sure that your baby is having a well balanced diet.  

Nutrients

The following table lists vitamins and minerals that are found in abundance in eggs.

Vitamin/Mineral Recommended Daily Intake (7-12 months) Amount in 1 Large Egg*
Choline 150 mg 294 mg (196 %)
Folate 80 μg 44 μg (55 %)
Iron 11 mg 1.2 mg (10.9 %)
Magnesium 75 mg 10 mg (13.3 %)
Vitamin A 500 μg 149 ug (29.8 %)
Vitamin B6 0.3 mg 0.121 mg (40.3 %)
Vitamin B12 0.5 μg 1.11 μg (222 %)
Vitamin D 400 IU 87 IU (21.8%)

*Amount in 1 Large Egg

Choline

Studies have shown that choline has a significant effect on a baby's memory development. It is most important during pregnancy and the second week of life (i.e. through breastfeeding). 

Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folate

Iron along with B12 and folate (a.k.a. folic acid) help manufacture hemoglobin (red blood cells) which carry oxygen through the body. We are going to go into some reasons why these nutrients as well as hemoglobin are important both during pregnancy and as a first baby food.

Pregnancy

Unlike folic acid which is easily absorbed from a prenatal supplement, iron seems to depend very much on the individual. The type that is usually included in prenatal supplements is non-heme iron (plant-based) which has minimal absorption (10% in a person with good absorption). Also, it has a side effect of severe constipation. For this reason, they keep the iron levels to a minimum in prenatal supplements; a level that is often not adequate for most women. For this reason, we recommend pregnant women add iron rich foods to their diet. Following are the reasons why your hemoglobin and iron levels will deplete:  

1st Trimester:

  • The baby takes the mother's hemoglobin.

2nd & 3rd Trimesters:

  • The baby now takes iron from its mother to produce its own hemoglobin.

Baby

At 6 months, the baby's iron reserve is depleted and breastmilk no longer supplies sufficient amounts of iron to meet the baby's nutritional needs. For this reason, iron rich foods should be introduced immediately. The hemoglobin produced from the iron will carry oxygen through the body for the following functions:

  • Proper brain development and maintaining normal levels of the amino acid homocysteine. 
  • Proper muscle development.
  • Energy.

Note: High levels of homocysteine have been linked to the development of psychiatric mood disorders.

Magnesium

 

Magnesium is essential to a baby's development for the following reasons:

  • Along with calcium and vitamin D, magnesium is essential for the structural development of bones.
  • It is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.
  • It plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes which is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential to a baby's development for the following reasons:

  • It is a critical requirement for vision. 
  • It is required for normal functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
  • It is involved in proper immune function.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is essential for cognitive development. It helps maintain normal levels of neurotransmitters and the amino acid homocysteine.

Note: High levels of homocysteine have been linked to the development of psychiatric mood disorders. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to a baby's development for the following reasons:

  • It is required for bone growth.
  • It promotes calcium absorption in the gut.
  • It is required for proper immune function.
  • It prevents the development of Rickets.
  • It is required to modulate many gene encoding proteins.

Allergy Prevention

Another reason that eggs should be introduced early on is to prevent the formation of an egg allergy. Studies have shown that delaying the introduction of a food can actually increase the chances of an allergy developing. The more often your child is exposed to a certain food, the lower the risk.

Food Preparation

The easiest way to prepare and introduce eggs is to scramble them with either breastmilk or formula. We recommend greasing the pan with either olive oil or coconut oil. We also recommend checking out some great recipes at Eggs.ca.

 

 

 

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