Health benefits of pap for babies…Health Benefits of akamu for Babies
Pap, a highly nutritious cereal pudding made from maize, sorghum, or millet. It is one of the commonest baby weaning foods in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. It is gluten-free and very healthy for babies, toddlers, adolescents, and lactating mothers, adults, elderly and even the convalescents to consume.
In the Northen part (Hausa) of Nigeria, it is referred to as Kira Masara. Yorubas (Western region) refer to pap as Ogi, while the Igbos (Eastern region) call it Akamu. In other African counterparts like Ghana, it is referred to as koko, and porridge, or mealie pap in South Africa.
Pap is typically prepared through a process known as fermentation. The maize, Sorghum or mullet is left to ferment for about 2-3 days. This is done by soaking it in water. It is then wet milled, sieved using a cheesecloth to remove the husks; afterwards, allowed to sediment. This is how pap is made. Spices such as ginger, cloves, garlic and turmeric can be added to enhance the taste.
From the age of 6 months, it usually recommended to mothers for their babies as the first weaning food. It contains adequate nutrients necessary for growth and development in babies, and can serve as a substitute or alternative to breast milk once the babies become infants (6months – 2 years).
Nutritional Value of Pap
Pap is a rich source of energy, vitamins, protein, and minerals. It is a good source of phosphorus, carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium, zinc, chromium, vitamins A, B, C and many more.
Pap is also composed of amino acid, folic acid, tryptophan, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, and valine. A serving of pap contains 152 calories.
Pap is consumed by all and sundry (babies, infants, toddlers, adolescents, nursing mothers, adults, elderly etc) and very beneficial to all. However, for the purpose of this article, the discuss will be centered on the health benefits of pap to babies.
Health Benefits of Pap to Babies
The health benefits of pap to babies include the following:
👉Weight gain: pap (akamu), sugar and crayfish is the best food for malnourished, skinny and starved children for it helps them gain some weight and gather flesh.
👉Prevents Diarrhea: Pap serves as a good probiotic for babies, children, and even adults. Probiotics are foods or dietary supplements used for therapeutic purposes. Pap is a probiotic that can help treat diarrhea, dysentery, stomach upset in babies.
👉Formation of Strong Bones and Teeth: Sorghum based diets and foods are known to be very high in calcium. Calcium is a vital mineral required by the body for bone and teeth formation. Pap is made from Sorghum and consumption can help in the formation of your baby’s teeth and strong bones.
👉Energy Booster: A serving of pap contains 152 calories. This is sufficient to provide enough calories to keep your baby energized throughout the day.
👉Boosts Immune System: Pap is rich in nutrients that are required by the body for proper functioning. Feeding your baby with pap can help boost your baby’s immune system and make him/her resistant to some child infections and diseases.
👉Prevents Anemia: Pap provides the daily requirements of iron per serving important to synthesize red blood cells and prevent anemia in babies.
👉Protects Heart Health: Pap is known to protect heart health. It is an ideal food for people with hypertension and other metabolic disorders. Therefore, feeding your baby with pap helps protect your little one’s heart health.
👉Prevents Obesity: Pap is considered a healthy food option for persons trying to stay fit and healthy. It contains a high amount of water that helps keep you hydrated, gives a feeling of satiety. Thus, prevents excessive eating. Feeding your baby with pap gives a feeling of fullness and prevent over eating. This in turn, can prevent obesity or your baby being over weight.
👉Aids Digestion: Pap is very easy to digest. It allows for free bowel movement and can help prevent digestive irregularities in babies.
👉Replaces lost body fluid: Due to the high content of water in pap, pap can help with replacement of lost bodily fluids, especially for babies with diarrhea.
👉Promotes Better Sleep Quality: Tryptophan in pap helps increase the level of serotonin in the body when consumed. This in turn, helps with stress management. Feeding your baby with pap can help improve or maintain better sleep. Your baby tends to sleep well.
👉Increase Breast Milk in Lactating Mothers: Pap is one food usually recommended to nursing mothers so as to increase their breast milk flow. It can be consumed with bean cake (Akara), bean porridge, bean pudding (moi-moi), and more. This is beneficial to babies as they get to derive adequate nutrients from the mother’s breast milk, as well as ease of breast milk flow.
How to Prepare akamu for Babies
👉Ingredients needed to prepare pap for babies include:
👉Utensils (spoon, kettle, plate and flask)
👉Lumps of pap
👉In a bowl, dissolve some lumps of pap.
👉Add lukewarm water to the mix and stir till a paste is formed.
👉Add some cups of water into a kettle and allow to boil.
👉Once boiled, pour into the bowl containing the mix.
👉Stir till pudding is formed.
👉Pour immediately into a flask if not ready to feed your baby.
👉If ready, you can add baby milk, soybean as desired.
Pap is one of the healthiest foods for babies and infants. It is a popular baby weaning food in Nigeria. Some of the benefits of pap include: very easy to make, affordable, highly nutritious and easily digestible.
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