The versatility of olive oil extends beyond culinary use, making it a valuable ally for children. In addition to its role in cooking, hair care, pet care, cleaning techniques, and natural remedies, olive oil has exceptional benefits for young consumers.
Olive oil boasts numerous properties and applications, and its contribution to a healthy diet is particularly noteworthy. The Mediterranean diet, renowned for its richness, diversity, and health benefits, prominently features olive oil.
Benefits of Olive Oil in Breast Milk
Recent university studies have revealed the significant advantages of consuming extra virgin olive oil, particularly for breastfeeding mothers. The intake of extra virgin olive oil substantially increases the presence of phenolic compounds in breast milk. These bioactive components can traverse the placental barrier, benefiting the infant. The study, supported by the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety (INSA-UB), the Faculty of Pharmacy at UB, and the Obesity and Nutrition Area of CIBEROBN, provides clear evidence that diets rich in olive oil can modify bioactive compounds in breast milk, potentially benefiting both the mother and the baby.
For newborns, breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition due to its bioactive factors (such as antibodies, stem cells, and hormones) and essential nutrients. Phenolic compounds, which include properties like oleic acid, found in extra virgin olive oil, could become part of breast milk, providing additional benefits for infants.
Introducing Olive Oil to Babies
Certainly! Olive oil is a healthy product with remarkable natural properties. Extra virgin olive oil contains essential vitamins A, E, K, and D, along with oleic acid. It aids in cholesterol control, making it an excellent choice for baby nutrition. Contrary to the misconception that olive oil causes weight gain, it consists of natural and healthy fats. Moreover, the caloric content of olive oil is minimal.
Babies can start consuming olive oil at around 6 months when introducing solid foods into their diets. It is advisable to offer olive oil in its raw form or by adding small drizzles to their meals. Extra virgin olive oil is the preferred choice for babies due to its superior quality, mild flavor, and lower acidity.
Mediterranean Diet as a Child's Ally
Despite some parents overlooking the benefits, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into children's diets is highly advantageous. Regular consumption of olive oil in children not only aids in digestion regulation but also enhances palatability. Its intense flavor elevates the taste of meals without the need for excessive salt or sugar, which is particularly beneficial for children.
Beyond taste enhancement, the positive effects of olive oil on children's health include a reduction in cardiovascular diseases, triglycerides, cholesterol, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
How to Include Olive Oil in Children's Diets
As mentioned earlier, it is preferable to add extra virgin olive oil raw to main meals. Consider incorporating a tablespoon into lunch and dinner dishes. Additionally, using it as a dressing for salads, in purees, pastas, or rice dishes is an excellent option.
Spread extra virgin olive oil on bread or use it in sandwiches instead of butter for breakfast or snacks. These choices, including toast with tomatoes or hummus, allow for the inclusion of this liquid gold in children's diets.
Olive oil, a non-perishable superfood, can be an advantageous addition to various diets. Starting olive oil in a child's diet from the age of 6 months onward is not only possible but also offers numerous benefits. Don't hesitate – include olive oil in all diets for your little ones.