Vegetable foods in weaning.J Int Med Res 1992; 20(5):371-80JI
Vegetable foods (cereals, non-starchy vegetables, legumes) make a unique nutritional and metabolic contribution during weaning. They provide proteins that are of low biological value individually but whose value can be raised by consuming appropriate combinations: minimal amounts of lipids, mostly essential polyunsaturated fats; complex carbohydrates; and soluble fibre, which are fermented by colonic flora to short-chain fatty acids that have beneficial effects. Insoluble fibre, minerals, trace elements and vitamins are also nutritionally important components of vegetable foods. Vegetable foods lower the calorific density of meals, modulate nutrient and antigen absorption, and promote a physiological copropoiesis. Recent nutritional surveys have shown that 12-month old children eat an excessive amount of animal proteins. Whole cereals and non-starchy vegetables, including whole legumes, should be routinely eaten during weaning to improve nutritional balance and to make children accustom to eating fibre, which has prophylactic properties. The daily intake of fibre should be progressively increased to 5 g during the first year of life.