Nutrition for Children Proper Growth and Development
Nutrition is important at all ages whether it is the adult stage or infant stage because a well balanced nutritious diet is very much important for proper growth, development and for a developing immunity system.
In this article we are going to discuss especially about child nutrition for their development and Growth.
What is Child Nutrition ?
Nutrition is all the same and there is no differentiation in nutrition categories for adults or children. All the essential micro and macro nutrients are required at all ages to perform proper function of the body but when we are talking about child nutrition specially we are pointing out the quantity of micro/macro nutrients or amount of food that a child should be taking at the particular age.
As for example a fully grown adult can consume 100 grams of protein a day whereas a child under a certain age can’t consume that amount.
Nutrition is very much important for your child because most of the physical and cognitive growth occurs between the age of 2 to 17 years old so you as a parent should take utmost care about your child nutrition. Moreover a proper nutrition knowledge for your child will help him/her to develop healthy eating habits and apply knowledge of nutrition throughout life.
Role of Nutrition in growth and Development
As a parent you must know the importance and the role of every nutrient in daily life that can improve your child’s health. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are a vital part of life though they are required in very small amounts that help in proper functioning of different body parts. The deficiency of these trace elements in the body can result in serious health problems . Macronutrients that include carbohydrates, protein and fats is the large part of human nutrition that provide energy for different body functions and to carry out different activities in our daily life.
Important Vitamins for children
Vitamin A –
Vitamin A has great anti-inflammatory properties.Vitamin A helps in the production of T Lymphocytes which plays the main role in maintaining our immune system.
These T cells produce the Cytokines which kills the infected cell in our body and develop new cells for better immune system response.
So taking vitamin A will increase our immune power.
Moreover, Vitamin A helps in formation of photopigment rhodopsin which is the photo receptor present in our retina that helps in night vision.
If there is a deficiency of Vitamin A then there will be less production of rhodopsin and it can cause you night blindness.
Vitamins B –
There are a total eight variations of vitamin B and they have different health benefits on the human body.
Health Benefits of vitamin B –
- Helps in energy production in our body . It converts the carbohydrate that we get from our daily diet into glucose so that the body can use those glucose as fuel. It also helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
- Vitamin B helps in better blood circulation and maintain better heart health
- Vitamin B helps in maintaining a proper metabolic rate and proper energy production to carry out daily activities.
- Helps in the production of red blood cells and also improves the sleep quality.
- Also helps in producing new antibodies to fight different germs and diseases.
Vitamin C –
Vitamin C is the most important part of nutrients as it has great anti-inflammatory properties and it also strengthens our body’s defence system.
Vitamin E –
Vitamin E is a great anti-oxidant which can protect cell damage and also remove the free radicals in our body . Removing free radicals from the body is essential especially in children because they greatly affect the growth and development of the body.
Vitamin D –
Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which helps in bone strengthening and prevents osteoporosis.
Vitamin D also help in boosting immune system
Important Minerals for Children
Sodium and Potassium –
These are the important minerals that act as electrolytes in the human body. Intake of these minerals should be in the right proportion because if taken in an improper ratio it can cause harm to blood pressure. Potassium in large amounts can result in low blood pressure and sodium results in high pressure.
So taking these in the right proportion can help in right blood fluid electrolyte balance and it also helps in nerves and muscle functioning. It also maintains the right blood pressure.
Calcium is a very important mineral for our body as it maintains healthy bones, teeth and also maintains healthy nerves and muscle function and regulates healthy blood pressure.
Zinc is also one of the important minerals that plays a very critical role in the human body which helps in cell growth and metabolism. Moreover, it helps in sexual maturation, production of important enzymes, faster the recovery rate of the body that helps in healing wounds and also strengthen the body’s defence system to protect from different infections and diseases.
Iron is an important mineral in children but in most cases children have iron deficiency of iron. Iron is important because it helps in production of hemoglobin (the red blood cell) which helps in carrying oxygen rich blood to different parts. It also helps in energy metabolism, growth and development in children.
Iodine is important because it is essential for healthy thyroid gland development . The thyroid gland is the most important in the whole endocrine system in our body because it regulates the production of important hormones, nerves and muscle functions. It also helps in physical growth and new body cell development.
Copper in children’s bodies helps in production of many enzymes that help in metabolism of iron and glucose, maintain healthy red and white blood cells, and also important for heart health.
Healthy levels of magnesium in children is important as it plays an important role in sleep quality, increasing energy levels in children, maintaining healthy bones and teeth, regulating the absorption of calcium and developing the immune system and maintaining healthy nerve signaling functions in the body.
Importance of Macronutrients for Children
Protein is the most important macronutrients and is the most essential part of nutrition that a child should get in good amount for better growth.
Protein is the building block of our body. It helps in the development of muscles, organs, brain and different hormones and enzymes production. Not getting enough protein can affect the growth and the immune system of a child.
Carbs are the primary source of energy for any living cells. Carbohydrates help in carrying other essential nutrients to different body parts. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which are used as instant energy by our body.
Brain uses glucose as the primary source of energy to function properly and stay healthy and active. But avoid simple carbs and include more complex carbs in your children’s diet.
Because complex carbs carry more nutrients and fibers than simple carbs and moreover they digest slowly so complex carbs can help in your child weight management.
Fat is an essential part of child nutrition because fat helps in faster absorption of many minerals and vitamins. Fats from diet consumed are converted into fatty acids for long term uses and fatty acids have many health benefits in growth and immune system development.
Parents are advised to add more unsaturated fats than saturated fats as it can increase bad cholesterol levels and that is bad for children’s health.
It is advised to avoid fried,frozen, junk baked foods and cookies and cakes because they are high in trans fats and it has numerous side-effects on health.
Parents should pay much attention to their child’s nutrition because not getting proper nutrition in their growing age can result in many health issues.
Side-Effects of excess Micronutrients in children’s Diet
Basically,this happens with the child who takes vitamins and minerals artificially from outside in the form of tablets and solutions. It is always advised to consult with your doctor before adding any kind of artificial nutrients to your children’s diet. Try to consume maximum micronutrients from natural foods.
Side effects are as below :-
- Low energy level
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Abdominal pain
- May result in Skin irritation
Side effects of excess Macronutrients in children’s diet
Macronutrients are an essential part of nutrition but consuming them in excess amounts could result in affecting children’s health. As a parent you must keep an eye on your child’s diet to ensure they are getting proper nourishment.
Side effects are below :-
- Stomach upset and pain
- Weight management problem
- Blood sugar problem
- Blood pressure problem
- Cholesterol problem
List of foods to include in your children’s Diet
Protein rich foods :-
Carbohydrate rich foods :-
- Green vegetables
- Sweet potato
- White rice
Fat rich foods :-
- Peanut butter
- Dark chocolates
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
Vitamins and Minerals rich foods :-
- Beans and Peas
Here mentioned are the few foods suggestions but as a parent you must include all varieties of foods apart from the foods mentioned here. Every food has their own health benefits and different nutrition values.
Cognitive improvements and Physical development of Children
Children grow rapidly in their fast 5 to 10 years and in that period of time you as a parent it’s very much important to take utmost care of your child’s cognitive improvements and physical developments that will help in their future.
Scientifically, it’s said children in their first 10 years learn anything at a faster rate so you must teach your child essentials things of life in that time so that they will learn easily and apply the rest of their life.
You can improve Cognitive developments by:-
- Tell sci-fi stories to your children
- Give them puzzle to solve
- Make a habits of reading story books
- Take your child to historical places and museums.
- Take your child to new places and environments
- Involve your children in different creative activities
- You give them choices and allow them to take their own decisions
- Provide gentle guidance but allow them to solve their problems.
- Talk to your child and make sure to answer all their “why” questions
Physical improvements of children can be achieved by :-
With proper nutrition planning your child can achieve a good healthy body but to provide flexibility, strength and stamina they need to do some extracurricular activities in their daily life.
- Running about 500 meters to 1 km per day will help in improving heart health, stamina and active mind.
- Allow water workout like swimming that will avoid extra stress on their joints
Dietary supplements that are included for better nourishment
This product is made by indian popular ayurvedic company in india. Chyawanprash is consumed especially to fight illness, infectious diseases and develop a strong immune system.
Nestle ceregrow is made especially for children between 2 to 5 years old to make their meal tasty and healthy. It has 15 essential vitamins and minerals that will support physical and cognitive development.
Nangrow is basically a milk drink that is made for childrens so that they can get enough nutrients at one time. It is rich in iron, DHA and zinc that develop brain function and also have vitamin A and C to strengthen immune system
Pediasure is the world’s no.1 doctor’s recommended dietary supplements for children for proper growth and developments. It contains 27 vital minerals and vitals with DHA , omega 3 and is rich in antioxidants. It helps in growth,development,weight management and strong immunity development.
Horlicks is a health supplement not only for children but also for adults. Horlicks are basically consumed for better immune system, production of red blood cells, increased bone density and muscle mass growth and healthy weight management.
Bournvita is the good source of zinc,magnesium, iron and folate which help in blood formation and the immune system and also provide energy for physical performance and also helps in releasing energy from foods we eat.
It is the alternative of milk for children. It contains beta palmitate which is the natural fatty acid in milk and is the major part of human milk that helps in calcium absorption and makes bones stronger. It also helps in the body’s overall development.
As a parent you are always responsible for your child’s overall development from cognitive to physical. You must take utmost care for your children for their better future. Things that are mentioned here are only for basic knowledge of parents but you must always take advice from healthcare professionals for better recommendations. Don’t trust articles that are present on the internet, you can always take ideas and go for doctor’s advice.
Also Read :-