5 Essential Nutrients for Healthy Growth in Children
Proteins help your child in building new body cells, breaking down food into energy, fight infection, and carry oxygen. Foods that contain high levels of protein are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy products.
Carbohydrates are as essential for your child as any other food. The body use fats and proteins for building and repairing tissues. Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates include breads, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes.
Fats are a great source of energy for kids and are easily stored in a child’s body. They are also important in helping the body to properly use some of the other nutrients it needs. Foods that contain high levels of fats include whole-milk dairy products, cooking oils, meat, and fish.
Calcium is essential in helping to build a child’s healthy bones and teeth. It’s also important for blood clotting and for nerve, muscle, and heart function. Foods that contain high levels of calcium include milk, cheeses, yogurt, ice cream and egg yolks.
Iron is necessary for a child to build healthy blood that carries oxygen to cells all over the body. Foods that contain high levels of iron include red meats, liver and poultry. Folate deficiency can cause anemia in children. Foods that contain high levels of folate include whole-grain cereals, lentils and spinach.
Foods rich in antioxidants
Kidney beans-All kinds of beans – black, pinto, red and kidney beans are high-octane sources of antioxidants. Beans are also rich in muscle-boosting protein, have no cholesterol and little fat. Combing them with grains helps in making a complete protein meal.
Raisins-If you’re looking to load up on antioxidants, have a handful of raisins. Dark raisins are packed with anthocyanins that give you an energy boost. Sprinkle them on your breakfast oats, add them in a salad or blend some with your smoothie.
Barley-This ancient grain is trending again and for good reason. Barley is known for its powerful antioxidant properties that make you stronger from within. Also, it has been found that when grains like barley are soaked and sprouted the antioxidant levels increase.
Tomatoes-Juicy tomatoes are packed with three types of antioxidants – Lycopene (that gives tomato its bright red colour), Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin C is one of the most potent kinds of antioxidants that you can derive from fruits and vegetables. The lycopene in tomatoes is best absorbed when they are cooked.
Calcium Rich foods and their Role
Most cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest content of calcium among all cheese. As an added bonus, your body absorbs the calcium in dairy products more easily than that from plant sources.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Many types of yogurt are also rich in live probiotic bacteria, which have various health benefits. One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt contains 30% of the daily-recommended dose for calcium, as well as phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B2 and B12.
Seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses. Some are exceptionally high in calcium, including poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds. For instance, 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of poppy seeds has 126 mg of calcium. Seeds also deliver protein and healthy fats. For example, chia seeds are rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Milk and milk products are good sources of calcium. Daily consumption of milk helps in keeping our bones and teeth strong. Low – fat milk is a good option as it not only prevents the overloading of extra calories but also supplements your body with required calcium.
Tofu is an excellent source of calcium. You can simply add it to the vegetables or can stir-fry and eat. One block of tofu contains 1624 mg of calcium. Figs are also rich in calcium.
Maintaining Gut Health
Eat more vegetables-Vegetables provide our body with the nutrients it needs on a day-to-day basis and help to maintain general health. They also provide fiber to keep the gut healthy and help our body’s systems run more effectively.
Focus on fiber-Aim to increase overall fiber content, especially if your intake of fruit, vegetables and legumes is low. Fiber can provide a huge variety of compounds and nutrients that will help improve gut health. Fiber is in whole grains, fruit, veggies, nuts and legumes are especially healthy to improve gut health
Eat plenty of prebiotic-rich foods-Consume prebiotic rich foods. When prebiotic foods are digested they provide food for the healthy bacteria which are found in our gut, so include things like bananas, onion, garlic, veggies (brussels sprouts and broccoli), whole grains and other fruits.
Eat more probiotic-rich foods-Different types of probiotics can have different impacts on gut health. Try to get probiotics from your food. Include foods which naturally contain probiotics, such as yoghurt and fermented foods. Before taking a probiotic supplement, speak to your doctor to find the right supplement for you.
Drink and eat wisely-As alcohol can negatively affect gut health, hence it is advisable to reduce your overall intake of alcohol and consume loads of water. Refrain from junk foods like soft drink, lollies, biscuits, chips and pizza as they have negative impact on our gut health.