For babies, rice is an ideal food to be introduced to as soon as they are ready to start solids. Brown rice, especially, has lots of health benefits.
Type of rice: brown and white
Generally, there are two types of rice: brown rice and white rice. Brown rice is a type that has not been thoroughly processed, so it still contains the bran and germ layers, which contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and fiber. White rice, on the other hand, is fully processed and polished. The bran and germ layers have been removed, leaving only the starchy grain.
Some research claims that brown rice tends to have a higher amount of arsenic than white rice. However, thanks to its higher nutritional benefits, there is a common consensus that brown rice is better for children than white rice.
3 Health benefits of rice
- Rice has little likelihood of containing allergens and is easy to consume. So, it is a very safe choice of solid food.
- Rice also serves as a good source of carbohydrates, which gives the energy that your baby needs to grow and develop, and it also contains vitamin B, calcium, and protein.
- Brown rice contains a lot of fiber, so it is very good for children who are suffering from constipation.
How to introduce rice the first time
It is recommended that you offer your baby solid foods around the age of 4-6 months old.
It takes time for some babies to adjust to solid foods because they are used to breast milk or formula. You can mix the rice with some breast milk or formula, and spoon feed your baby.
Don’t be surprised if it is refused at first as it may take some time for them to get used to it. Introduce solid foods one at a time. That way, you would be able to detect early any potential food allergies or sensitivities.
Risk of arsenic poisoning
All plant-based foods such as wheat, fruits, and vegetables contain a trace amount of arsenic, but rice absorbs more arsenic than other grains because it is grown in swampy areas. Some rice has been shown to contain less arsenic than others. Interestingly, the research by the University of California showed that the world-famous Thai Khao Hom Mali had the least amount of arsenic.
Risk of allergy
Some babies may show allergic reactions to rice. Talk to your doctor or dietician if your baby shows allergic reactions to rice. Babies are more likely to suffer allergic reactions if gluten or wheat is included in the rice.