Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance obtained from seaweeds, discovered more than 350 years ago in Japan. Over time, it has been used in fiber-rich diets for medicinal purposes with laxative properties, even in laboratories, as a medium for microbiological cultures. Although used in the culinary field as a substitute for jelly, it melts harder and has a slightly different, firmer texture. Also, agar-agar has a delicate sweet flavor and does not contain calories.
Which nutrients contain agar-agar?
Agar-agar, the extract obtained from the agarofite red algae walls, is a source of calcium and iron, with a very high fiber content (about 80%) used to regulate intestinal transit. It does not contain sugar, fat or carbohydrates and is known for its ability to improve digestion and as an adjunct to slimming belts. It is considered effective in removing toxins from the body and is sometimes used to treat hemorrhoids. Among the benefits associated with agar-agar is anti-inflammatory capacity or laxative effect, not recommended for diarrhea.
When can I introduce it into the baby’s diet?
The gelatinous consistency of agar-agar products presents a drowning hazard for young children, so it is recommended to introduce it into the baby’s diet after the age of one year. Before introducing any new food, please ask your pediatrician and follow the 4-day rule.
How do I choose and how do I offer to my baby?
Agar-agar is found in herbal stores in the form of powder or flakes. Unlike the usual soaking gelatin in water, agar-agar requires a few minutes of boiling but the gelling power is higher. It can be used in the preparation of ice cream, creams, jams or jellies. More acidic compositions may require a higher amount of it.