What’s in a Berry? A berry is a small and pulpy, edible fruit that is usually juicy, rounded, brightly coloured, sweet or sour, and do not have a stone or pit, although may have seeds. Blueberries and blackcurrants are common examples. Blueberries contain one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings! They are a very good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese. Blueberries are also a good source of fibre and copper. Blackcurrants are also high in antioxidants and are especially rich in Vitamin C – containing more than three times as much as an orange!
What does it do for my baby’s body? Blueberries have reached superstar status in terms of their unique health benefits. Blueberry antioxidants support and benefit the nervous system and brain function, as well as containing small amounts of fibre, like blackcurrants.
As well as high levels of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, blackcurrants contain soluble and insoluble fibre as well as important carbohydrates to give you energy. Soluble fibre helps to slow down the release of nutrients, particularly glucose, into the blood stream which is healthier for the body. Insoluble fibre speeds up the movement of food through the large intestine. This will help keep you regular and make you feel full. Blackcurrants also contain fructose and glucose to give you energy.
Should I give Blueberries and Blackcurrants, if my baby has infant reflux? Blueberries add a contrast to very sweet fruit purees and are ideal for young babies whilst being antioxidant-packed. There is no reason why you shouldn’t try introducing blueberries in puree form, once you have passed the first more traditional veggie puree stage of weaning. They are an ideal snack food served fresh and whole to toddlers and can be frozen. There is nothing in a blueberry that could increase sickness or reflux.
Blackcurrants, which are very high up on the antioxidants and vitamin C levels, are often sour to taste fresh so would need combining with sweet berries or other foods like honey or a little brown sugar to be palatable. However, these berries are high in vitamin C, so the benefit of the fruit’s goodness outweighs the disadvantage of adding sweet foods. Due to the addition of sugars, it is wise to hold off giving sweetened blackcurrant purees to a very young baby, until other naturally sweet staple foods have been established.
Fun fact: The definition of a berry includes many fruits that are not commonly known as berries, such as grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and bananas. However, strawberries and raspberries are not berries by botanical definition.