Proper nutrition is crucial at every stage of life, especially for children in their growing years. Kids get the required energy and nutrients for their growth from what they eat. A nutritious diet is important for your kids to be energetic and to stay healthy for a longer time. As being sick hinders growth, children who get the proper amount of nutrients develop a stronger immunity which prevents illness and therefore aids healthy growth.
Whenever we think of a healthy diet, we always hear a word “balanced diet”. But one should know a balance of what is healthy. So, here are the top 10 essential nutrients that every child should get on a daily basis for a healthy growth.
In these days, almost everyone is trying to have a low-carb diet. But children need carbohydrates, as they provide required energy for physical activity. Carbohydrates help the body to use protein and fat to build and repair tissue. Though they are available in different forms such as starches, sugars, and fibers, kids should get most of the carbohydrates from starches and fibers and less from the sugars. High levels of carbohydrates are present in bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, and cereals.
Protein is especially important for growth. It builds, maintains and repairs body tissue. Protein breakdowns the consumed food into energy, fights infection and carries oxygen. Foods which contain a good amount of protein include dairy products, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and beans.
Fats are always believed to be bad for health. There are two types of fats which are good and bad. Good fats are the great sources of energy for kids and they easily get stored in the body. They play an important role in brain and nerve growth in infants and toddlers. Healthy fats also boost metabolism, blood clotting and help body to absorb vitamins. They are present in cooking oils, whole-milk dairy products, meat, nuts, and fish.
Iron is important for making red blood cells that carry oxygen in the body and helps the child grow. Lack of iron results in anemia and child may experience fatigue and irritability. Some of the best sources of iron are beans, eggs, iron-fortified cereal, meat, whole grains, and nuts.
Most of the children suffer from constipation. Fiber helps in bowel regularity and also decreases the risk of heart disease, cancer later in life. Foods that contain fiber include chickpeas, nuts, lentils, whole-grain cereals etc.
Calcium is well known for building strong bones and healthy teeth. But it also promotes healthy nerve and muscle function. It also helps in blood clotting, and body to convert food into energy. High levels of calcium are present in dairy products, egg yolks, broccoli, tofu, spinach etc.
Folate is important to produce red blood cells. They also help in brain development and functioning. It also boosts the immune system, digestive health and reduces the risk of heart disease. Some of the best sources of folate are lentils, whole-grain cereals, spinach. Kidney beans, chickpeas etc.
Vitamin is important for a variety of purposes in kids and adults. It promotes healthy vision and bone growth. Also, vitamin A protects the body from infections and aids the healthy growth of cells, tissues including hair, nails, and skin. Foods that are best sources of vitamin A are carrots, spinach, apricots, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, fish oils etc.
Vitamin C strengthens children’s immunity and improves brain functioning. It helps the body heal wounds faster and builds strong bones and teeth. It also strengthens the walls of blood vessels and keeps child’s gums healthy. The best sources of vitamin c are citrus fruits, tomatoes, mangoes, broccoli, cauliflower, melons etc.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals like calcium which build strong bones and teeth. It is crucial for reaching potential and peak bone mass in children. Vitamin D also acts as a hormone to boost immunity, produce insulin and regulating cell growth.