Saturday, 10 August 2019

Benefits of African Pear(Ube)





It is the late season of this sweet, fibrous, fleshy and buttery pear of the West African mainly found in the South Eastern part of Nigeria popularly known as Ube.  They are rich in important flavonoids, vitamins, and dietary fiber .the antioxidant vitamin (vitamin C) which helps to fight the free radicals in the body. It is pink or grey in colour when unripe but turns dark purple when ripped; It has a butter-like nature when roasted or dipped in hot water and is enjoyed by all. It is mainly eaten alone, with roasted or cooked corn, can also be mashed into baby's food.

Boosts Immune System

Immune boosting property in African bush pear comes from vitamin C and essential minerals that act as antioxidants that helps to strengthen immunity and improve the infection-fighting ability of the immune systems.

Reduces Constipation

Local pear contains soluble fiber which gives it the ability to aid a normal bowel movement and  reduce constipation. This fibre contains pectin, cellulose and lignin that resist the action of the digestive enzyme. 

Promotes Healthy Bones And Teeth

It contains some important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. These minerals have key roles to play in the skeletal system, in maintaining bone health, muscle contraction, immune system and blood clotting in both adults and children.

Helps to Maintain a Healthy skin

Ube also helps to improve the texture of your skin by making it smoother and reducing wrinkles as a result of its rich amount of vitamin C which works to fend off cell damage from free radicals even more than othrer fruits like oranges and lemons, They are also Allergy-Free Fruits

Good for the heart

Local pear also contains a lot of soluble fibre which  reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level.

Rich in vitamin B5

It is rich in vitamin B5 which is very essential in the body. This vitamin is responsible for hormone stimulation, amazing skin care, healthy heart and hair, boost one’s immune system and stamina. Along with all these benefits, vitamin B5 helps to increase the body’s metabolic rate which can be crucial to weight loss, relieve stress, boost haemoglobin generation, prevent arthritis and even heal wounds.

Good For Pregnancy

As surprising as it may sound, local pear is a pregnancy super fruit. It contains natural folic acid which is very good in pregnancy supplement as it helps to prevent deficiencies in baby's brain and spinal cord.

Conclusion

It is healthy for patients suffering from diabetes and cancer because of it high loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also very good for the body and does not have any side effect as it is a hypo-allergenic fruit, hence it is  recommended for infants and toddlers as a snack or mashed into their meals.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Introduction to baby's first solids




The decision about what, when and how to introduce solid foods to babies have always being a great call for concern for new moms and old time moms alike which is often influenced by their cultural factors.
They often face; 
when to introduce solids
what foods should be introduced and in what order
what texture the foods should be.

While it is advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age to provide optimal nutrition and health benefits. This delay is informed by the understanding that:

  • An infant’s nutritional needs can be met by breast or formula milk until this age but not beyond (eg the iron requirements of children older than six months must be provided by solid foods like egg yolk, liver etc).

  • Breastfeeding reduces diarrhoeal disease in children, which is particularly vital in developing economies for improving child survival

  • Most children will be developmentally ready to accept solid foods by six months of age (that is; most children will be able to sit and have the tongue and head control needed to facilitate eating).


Signs that your baby is hungry and ready to start eating solid foods 

  • Getting excited when they see you getting their food ready
  • Leaning towards you while they are sitting in the highchair
  • Opening their mouth as you’re about to feed them.
  • Loses the tongue thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of his mouth.
  • Still seems hungry even after getting a full day's portion of milk (eight to 10 breastfeedings or about 32 ounces of formula
Weaning From Breast-Feeding


When you choose to wean your baby, introduce either infant formula or cow's milk, depending on your baby's age. If your baby is under 12 months of age, wean from breast milk to iron-fortified infant formula. If your baby is 12 months or older, whole cow milk is appropriate.

Examples of appropriate complementary foods listed by age:

6-8months:

  • Mashed banana, avocado or peeled cooked beans
  • Cooked and pureed carrots, peas or sweet potato
  • Ground, cooked, single-grain cereal (like rice, maize, acha(hungry rice), millet etc) or infant cereal with breast milk or formula
  • Pureed mango
  • Yoghurt
  • Cooked and pureed meat or poultry
  • Mashed egg yolk
  • Peanut butter (groundnut paste) pureed with water

9 -12months:
  • Sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits
  • A variety of cooked vegetables cut into small pieces, such as squash and green beans
  • Whole cooked beans
  • Well-cooked, minced or finely chopped meat, poultry or fish

12 months:

  • Small pieces of fruit
  • Small pieces of cooked vegetables
  • Soft, shredded meat, poultry or fish
  • Mixed food dishes the family is eating in appropriately sized pieces


 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Dear mum, cut yourself some slack

Image result for lynette scavo memes mum
Lynette Scavo of the Desperate Housewives series often comes to mind whenever I think of the challenges of motherhood. I also often wonder how some mums like Bree in the same series seem to get it all together.


A mother often finds out that her to-do-list for the day is hardly completed each day and wonder as much as she can, she finds it difficult to figure out what exactly took up the hours. This is especially the case when a mother has a baby, and perhaps a toddler. Working-mums often think Stay-At-Home mums (SAHMs) usually have the entire day to themselves while in reality,  they are often busy round the clock especially during working hours. Working mums often find it easier to cut themselves some slack but not so for SAHMs.

The increasing use of social media which gives many people the opportunity to showcase their picture-perfect lives adds even more weight on the shoulders of mums, leading some mums to believe they are not doing well as mothers.

Dear mother, cut yourself some slack. The most important things in motherhood include your sanity and your kids' well-being. Ticking off all the boxes in your to-do-list is not a priority. Having a spick and span home is beautiful but not always realistic especially when you have toddlers in the home.

Remind yourself each day you are unable to finish all your tasks that you are an awesome mum. Babies and other children do not care about to-do-lists. If you ever have to choose between rocking or tucking into bed your child and cleaning up the house,  please choose the former. Showing them love and giving them attention rank higher than a spick and span home.  Whenever you feel tired and unable to finish the day's chores, give yourself a break.


Bottomline: Be the best mother and homemaker you can be, never compare your motherhood challenges to that of another, never see someone else's as standard. Whenever you see that mother who like Bree seems to get all her motherhood acts together, wish her well and remind yourself that your struggles aren't the same. You do not have to be a perfect mother, just be the best mother you can be and take it one step at a time. Sometimes it is okay to offer children junk food; sometimes it's okay to just offer them biscuits and tea for breakfast; sometimes it is okay to ignore the toys and clothes scattered all over the house.  At the end of the day the memories that linger are neither the spick and span house nor the days you have all your acts together; the memories that linger are the heartfelt smiles, the first steps, the day something frightened them and they ran into the safety of your arms, the day you wiped off the blood gushing from the cuts they sustained, the days you told them bedtime stories and the stories you told, the day you winked at them or laughed at their silly jokes or pranks, the day they screamed at the top of their lungs as the merry-go-round moved.  The memories that linger often never get made because mummy was busy trying to be the perfect mum with a spick and span home. 

Children grow very fast. In what seems to be the blink of an eye, your baby becomes an adult. Focus more on making memories your children will always cherish and less on being a perfect mum. If a spick and span home seems to elude you now, calm down, someday sooner than you expect, you will long for the noise and seeming chaos that once characterized your home as you stare at your spick and span home almost empty except for you and your significant other. 

Monday, 9 April 2018

Mango puree for babies



It is the mango season and why would our little ones be denied the joy mango seasons bring? Mangos are loaded with vitamins A and C, contain carotenoids, folate, iron, potassium and several other minerals. Except a child is allergic or intolerant to mango, I doubt if there is any reason to deny a child who has started complementary feeding the sheer joy mango brings. Who doesn't remember licking mangos as a child and having the liquid drip up to one's elbows, and having mango fibers stuck between one's teeth?

Like almost all seasonal fruits in Nigeria, there is a period of excess when mangoes are very cheap in the market and often thrown away, then followed by a long period when the only reminder one gets of mangos are mango trees. Like all fruits too, there are myths surrounding taking a lot of mangoes like 'mangoes cause intestinal worms' or 'mangoes cause dysentery' both of which are unfounded. Mango in itself neither causes worms nor dysentery, but licking unwashed mangoes can cause diseases because of the microorganisms the fruit may have been exposed to during handling. Hence it is better to only choose mangoes without breaks in their skin and to wash them in salted water before licking. 
Needless to say, when preparing any food for babies, every utensil to be used as well as the hands of the food handler should be properly washed. When choosing fruits or any food to be prepared for babies, blemish-free and if possible organic ones should be chosen to reduce the risk of contamination. Homemade foods are usually recommended over commercially-processed foods for babies. 



According to Nutritionists, mango puree can be given to babies above 6 months of age. 
Procedure for preparing mango puree.
  1. Choose a ripe but firm mango without breaks on the skin. A break on the skin of a mango increases the chances that the mango could be contaminated.  
  2. Wash the fruit in clean, salted water
  3. Using a clean knife, cut the mango along the sides of the seed to separate the flesh from the seed. Remove as much flesh as you can from the seed
  4. Peel the skin off the flesh and cut the flesh into smaller sizes to enable ease of blending (or mashing). Doing steps 3 and 4 as described is a more hygienic way to handle the mango as compared to peeling off the skin first before cutting off the flesh. The recommended method ensures the handler's hands have as little contact with the mango flesh as possible.   
  5. Blend the mango flesh. Unlike with most fruit purees, blending mangoes gives a far better result than mashing as mangoes can be quite fibrous. Blending ensures most, if not all of the fibrous materials in mango flesh is pureed.
  6. Your mango puree is ready
Mango puree can be frozen in the freezer for future use, that is if you have no concerns about electricity supply like most Nigerians do.  
Fruit purees can be warmed before presentation to a baby by using a water bath method of cooking; place a pot of hot water on a stove and put the plate containing the puree in the water to warm it. Do not let the water level reach the top of the plate else the water could enter the puree when it boils which could make your puree watery. Do not use a plastic plate to warm the puree to avoid chemicals leaching into the puree. Ceramics or stainless steel plates are better. 



Pictorial representation of the procedure
Image may contain: fruit and food
A mango specie commonly called "opioro" in South-Eastern Nigeria
The mango used for preparing the puree in this article

Flesh sliced off the seed


Skin removed from the flesh and flesh diced into smaller bits to make for easy pureeing
End result




Ready for freezing


Recommended articles
Homemade baby meal ideas. 


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Fruit of the week: Avocado

Avocado

Avocado can be found year-round in Nigeria but at certain seasons of the year, like now, the green-shaped, fleshy body fruit that could be described as ' pear-shaped' or 'egg-shaped'  is aplenty in the Nigerian market and thus relatively cheap. Unlike other fruits that consist primarily of carbs, avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and other nutrients, making avocados beneficial for the heart. When compared to similar fatty foods like butter, avocado contains low levels of cholesterol, is a low-calorie food, and does not lead to increased weight gain. 

Below are some of the things we found out about avocado that we wish to share with Nigerian mothers. 
  1. Avocado is a great source of minerals and vitamins. It also contains phytochemicals that help in protecting the eyes as they are said to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. 
  2. Avocados are weight-loss friendly as they are good sources of fiber: Fiber is an indigestible plant matter that helps increase the satiety value of food which eventually reduces one's desire to eat more thereby contributing to weight loss. They also help prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer. 
  3. Avocados are said to be rich in folate as 100g of the fleshy fruit contains about  20% of the RDA of Folate making it beneficial for pregnant women. Folate reduces the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects in unborn babies. 
  4. Avocado has been described by nutritionists as "a great first food for babies". Avocado is a great nutrient-dense food full of healthy monounsaturated fats and nearly 20 minerals and vitamins. Its texture and creaminess make it acceptable to many babies. Avocado can be mashed/pureed with different fruits to make wonderful baby foods.

Mashed/pureed avocado; a great first food for babies
See Avocado and egg puree and other baby meal ideas for suggestions on healthy and nutritious foods you can offer your baby

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Sweet Potato and Spinach puree


Spinach in its pureed forms may not be the among the visually appealing foods, but they certainly make the foods nutritionally richer.  Spinach is a wonderful vegetable that serves as a great source of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A, Folate and several other micro-nutrients. In its pureed form, Spinach imparts an intense green colour to any food it is mixed with hence the colour of the potato puree presented in this article. 
Ordinarilly, sweet potato puree could have any colour ranging from white, yellow to orange but never green. Green-coloured potato purees got their colours from other contents of the puree apart from potatoes. 

Iron, Calcium, Folate and Vitamin A are among the food nutrients babies need sufficient supplies of and considering the fact that Spinach has sufficient quantities of these nutrients, then potato and spinach puree is a great food for babies who have started eating solids. 


Method of Preparation
Preparing sweet potato and spinach puree involves the same method employed when preparing sweet potato purees except for the addition of spinach leaves.
  1. Peel the skin off the sweet potato and chop into small bits which makes the potato cook fast as well as makes the potato easier to mash or blend
  2. Boil potato until soft
  3. Mash or blend the cooked potatoes alongside the washed spinach leaves. Add water to achieve a consistency suitable for your baby's age and palate. You could use the water used in boiling the potatoes or entirely new water. 
  4. Your Sweet potatoes and Spinach puree is ready. 

Unpeeled sweet potato
Bits of sweet potato with spinach leaves
Cooked potatoes ready for blending



Potato + Spinach puree ready

Click Baby meal ideas for more suggestions of healthy and nutritious homemade meals you can offer your baby

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Baby-friendly pasta



Feeding your baby healthy homemade meals does not have to be difficult. Sometimes you just offer the baby a mashed version of what others in the family are eating. Just that when preparing the food you have to put the baby's palate into consideration and use as little seasoning as possible. 

The food presented in this article is spaghetti with vegetables, mackerel, and egg. The baby's version contains spaghetti, vegetables, mackerel and egg yolk all mashed to a consistency befitting an 8 months old baby. 
You can make yours' with any pasta of your choice as well as any healthy vegetable you can lay your hands on.


Adult version of the food
Adult vs baby version of the same food