We live in a time where people are overwhelmed by the fear of obesity and constantly surrounded by warnings of health risks caused by saturated and hydrogenated fat. However, not all fat is bad. The baby food that your child eats needs to contain certain types of fats that are very important for the growth and development of your child. Fats are the biggest source of energy necessary for a healthy development and longevity of all body cells, as well as some of the most important factors in your child’s body growth, the development of a healthy bloodstream and the proper functioning of its neurological and immunological systems. Fats are also important for the intake of vitamins (A, D, E and K), which without fats are unable to be synthesized inside the organism, as well as the beta-carotene, which is better used by the help of fats.
Some products contain essential fatty acids (omega- 3 and omega- 6) which a human body can’t produce, and that is why they need to be imported via food. The best source for quality fats are the following vegetable oils: olive oil, linseed oil, sunflower seed oil and the rapeseed oil. However, you should keep in mind that by using thermal processing the oil properties can be changed, and that is why the best way to introduce them to your baby’s digestive system is to add them into a previously prepared fruit or vegetable baby food.
Due of the rapid progress of their bodies, kids have an increasing need of fats so you should not limit their intake until the second year, because there is still a lot of time until the first diets and desperate wining of the skinny teenage girls occur, but of course they are a completely different story.
Unsaturated – omega- 3 and omega- 6
These fats have a beneficial influence on the organism. They are liquid in a room temperature and can be found in vegetable oils: olive oil, linseed oil and the rapeseed oil.
Saturated –firm fats (pork fat, tallow, butter)
It would be better to avoid or moderate their use because they are harmful to the heart and its blood vessels, while their excessive use may also lead to obesity.
Trans fats – (hydrogenated fats produced by industrial food processes)
These fats are harmful and not at all recommended for children. You can find them in the margarine, chips, crackers, puffed pastries, refined vegetable oils and the dishes from deep frat fryers.
The importance of the “good” fats
Every cell in the human body is surrounded by a membrane which lets in the necessary appropriate compounds and allows the ejection of waste- that’s why it’s necessary to maintain the elasticity and the strength of these membranes. Considering that the cells membranes are made of fat, their quality is determined by the type of fat we use. With larger amount of fat the cell membranes become hard and rigid, while the omega- 3 asides are advantageous for maintaining their elasticity and permeability.
When to introduce fats into the child’s nutrition?
You can moderately add some oil into the baby food after the sixth month. At the beginning, use just one tea spoon a day, and later you can gradually increase the intake to one table spoon of fats daily.