Fats are essential in infant and early childhood nutrition. The breast-fed infant receives a very high fat intake, approximately double that of an adult, and this intake, in terms of quantity and quality, is very important to allow a harmonious development of the whole organism.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are important in this phase, both for growth in general and for brain development. However, their quantity must not be too high because the peroxidative processes can have a negative effect, causing a series of problems including the onset of a haemolytic anaemia.
The optimal quantity is therefore estimated at around 10% of ingested fats, corresponding in fact to the quantity present in breast milk and, as we have seen, also to that present in extra virgin olive oil, while it differs in both animal fats and seed oils.
In butter the content is low (1-2%), in corn and sunflower oil it is excessively high (50-60%). It follows that to provide an optimal share it will be necessary to resort to the help of extra virgin olive oil as mothers have always done instinctively and as the great Roman paediatricians advised in their oil-floury mixture.