Health

Olive Oil Works Wonders for Babies

Doctors in Italy recommend using olive oil in solids for babies that are being weaned off breast milk, due to the many common health benefits.
Jan. 12, 2015
Sarah Parker

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They cer­tainly don’t look alike or taste alike for that mat­ter, but olive oil and breast milk are sur­pris­ingly sim­i­lar.

Extra vir­gin olive oil con­tains omega 3 and omega 6 in sim­i­lar por­tions to breast milk fat and the same per­cent­age of linoleic acid mak­ing it an indis­pens­able food for the myeli­na­tion of nerve fibres and brain devel­op­ment. It is easy to digest and helps gas­tric func­tion­ing, pre­vent­ing the phe­nom­e­non of con­sti­pa­tion and colic.

Olive oil helps in the absorp­tion of vit­a­min D, impor­tant for grow­ing babies and chil­dren because it reg­u­lates cal­cium and phos­pho­rus and encour­ages the intake of min­er­als that are essen­tial to the process of ossi­fi­ca­tion. This gives chil­dren added pro­tec­tion against bone frac­tures in their ten­der years and the risk of osteo­poro­sis in old age.

In recent find­ings there have been a rise in cho­les­terol lev­els in chil­dren, a great con­trib­u­tor to obe­sity that affects one out of three chil­dren between 6 and 9 years of age. Since olive oil low­ers the lev­els of total blood cho­les­terol, LDL-cho­les­terol and triglyc­erides, doc­tors have rec­om­mended replac­ing ani­mal fats with olive oil to help com­bat the ris­ing obe­sity in chil­dren.
See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits
There has also been a report­edly lower risk of asthma in moth­ers who have con­sumed a con­sis­tent amount of olive oil through­out preg­nancy. Their babies have been found to have a more devel­oped immune sys­tem, lower risk of rhini­tis and aller­gies.

Olive oil is even said to be effec­tive in cur­ing cra­dle cap. Applied to the parts of the head affected by cra­dle cap before nor­mal cleans­ing, olive oil’s hydrat­ing prop­er­ties can act as a nat­ural rem­edy.

In Italy doc­tors strongly rec­om­mend using olive oil in solids for babies that are being weaned off breast milk. They even rec­om­mend adding it in a baby’s bot­tle of expressed or even for­mula milk to gain the ben­e­fits of the sub­stance; espe­cially for babies suf­fer­ing from colic. This is because olive oil can facil­i­tate the nat­ural gas­tric process and it con­tains oleu­ropein, a nat­ural anti-inflam­ma­tory sub­stance that repro­duces the nat­ural effects of ibupro­fen, the active ingre­di­ent widely used in the pro­duc­tion of pain med­ica­tion.

This was dis­cussed in more depth by Dr. Save­rio Pan­dolfi, from the Ital­ian Insti­tute of plant Genet­ics. The researcher said olive oil is the most sim­i­lar food to breast milk for babies and he rec­om­mends start­ing with a tea­spoon-full of high qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil in every meal pre­pared for the baby.

Olive oil is not only pleas­ing to every child because it reminds him of breast milk, but even to those who have never had oil in their diet,” said Pan­dolfi, such as Eski­mos or Africans.

Plas­mon, one of the most pop­u­lar baby food com­pa­nies in Italy pro­duces olive oil exclu­sively for wean­ing babies. It is made with olives pro­duced and pressed in Italy only and using tech­niques that the com­pany says ensures the oil main­tains more of its health ben­e­fits.

The Mediter­ranean diet starts young in Italy.

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