Curcumin found in turmeric has achieved the status of “cure-all” health supplement. Undoubtedly curcumin has some interesting pharmacological properties, and these are proven by 100+ studies in adults.
The most interesting attribute of turmeric is its unique safety profile even at high doses. Given the fact that turmeric has as many as 100 health benefits for us adults, wouldn’t it be great if we could apply the same medicinal properties to children’s health and well-being?
We encourage the use of turmeric for adults and children. But yes it is a justified concern put forward by parents- Can I give turmeric to my toddler? Let’s get to know the safety of turmeric for little ones.
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Is it safe to give turmeric to my toddler?
The answer is- Yes, you can include turmeric in your toddler baby’s diet, but only after 8-12 months of age or when the baby is comfortable consuming solid foods or foods that include culinary herbs and spices. Avoid giving it as a part of the readymade or store-bought baby food. Children of age 2 years and above can easily consume turmeric in diet or with milk.
It is time tested —
Turmeric is included in diets of toddler as spice in small amounts in India. Turmeric is given as part of curry /vegetables to toddlers when they are introduced to solids.
Children, especially below the age of 5 years, should not be given turmeric/curcumin supplements. Since their metabolism differs from that of adults, limit their turmeric intake based on their weight.
Let’s understand why the dose of turmeric for toddlers differ and assess its safety on a scientific backdrop.
1. Children have a different metabolism, and hence pediatric doses differ from adult doses
Doses of conventional medication for children are prescribed based on their body weight.
Also, children’s metabolism differs from that of adults. The gastric emptying rate (time taken for food to transit from stomach to intestine) for children is different from that in adults.
Similarly, their metabolism and excretion rate also differs from adults. Hence the dosage for children is different from adults. It is prescribed as 1/3 of the adult dose. (Read Is it safe to give turmeric to children?)
2. Including turmeric in foods is the best way to give turmeric to children
Turmeric can be given to children after eight months of age as a part of their diet. By diet, we mean natural foods. Since there is no data available, we do not recommend including turmeric as a part of formula food or readymade baby food.
The amount of organic turmeric powder to children less than 5 years would be limited to less than ¼-1/2 tsp depending on their weight.
How to give turmeric to toddlers?
Including turmeric in the diet is the best way to take the herb. Please check our list of recommended organic turmeric brands here>
The Golden paste is an effective way to take turmeric as it contains healthy fats and black pepper to enhance absorption. As little as ¼ to ½ tsp, based on baby’s weight, can be mixed with mashed natural foods and given to the child.
For older children (up to 10 years of age) ½ tsp to 1 tsp of turmeric powder per day can be given based on their weight.
Turmeric Milk is the best way to give turmeric to children. You can use ¼ -1/2 tsp turmeric powder for a small cup of milk (based on baby’s weight). Bring it to boil. Let it cool, add honey and give it your child.
To know more about the benefits of turmeric for children read 15 Kid Health Issues Turmeric Fights.
A few precautions to be noted when taking turmeric (these are mainly for adults):
- Opt for organic turmeric powder.
- Turmeric does not cause allergies. However, if allergic to the ginger family, avoid turmeric.
- Avoid taking turmeric supplements if experiencing bleeding disorders or taking antiplatelet medications. (Read Curcumin: Side effects & Precautions)
- Discontinue turmeric supplements two weeks before surgery.
- Limit or avoid turmeric powder in case of kidney health issues. (Read Side Effects of Turmeric)
- Limit turmeric intake in case of gallbladder stones.
- Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach. (Read Precautions with Turmeric Use)
- Start with very small doses of turmeric and increase gradually to minimize gastric side effects. This is important if turmeric is first being introduced.
Turmeric is a part of daily diet in almost every Indian household, and there is no restriction for children as well. Babies are introduced to spices with mashed foods after eight months of age.
Babies can be given turmeric in diet after 8-12 months of age. Please do not include it in ready-made baby food mixes. Do not give turmeric supplements to children, especially those below the age of 5 years.