6 essential nutrients that shouldn’t miss from your child’s daily diet

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Overview

An adequate nutrition and healthy habits can support your child’s health during the pre-teens years, adolescence and adulthood.

Most parents have basic knowledge about what their child should eat to have a strong body, to develop normally, but that they might not know might forget to introduce in their child diet some important nutrients.

If you want to make sure you include all the essential nutrients you need to make sure these nutrients are found in your child’s diet.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Calcium – an important nutrient for bones development
3. Essential fibers for the feeling of satiety
4. Magnesium – an essential nutrient for growth
5. Vitamin E – an essential nutrient for good health
6. Potassium – an essential nutrient for supporting cardiovascular activity
7. Vitamin D – one of the most important vitamins


Calcium – an important nutrient for bones development

Calcium is known for its role in optimizing bone growth and that it help prevent fractures during childhood and decades later.

Much of the body’s calcium is stored in bone tissue and another part is found in blood flow. Blood calcium plays a vital part as to normalize heart rhythm, blood clotting and proper development of muscle function.

The body is based on deposits of calcium in bones to maintain normal calcium levels in blood. Experts believe that a child’s diet must provide the following concentrations of calcium:
- 3 years old – 500 mg calcium
- up to 8 years old – 800 mg calcium
- up to 19 years old – 1300 mg of calcium.

Many children aren’t even close to consume foods that provide calcium intake during the day. Today, children drink especially fruit drinks and less and less milk. The need for calcium increases dramatically especially in women who rarely receive normal daily amount of calcium (girls assimilated on average 814 mg / day compared to the recommended of 1,300 mg / day).

Experts say that this lack of calcium is significant and can contribute to increased risk of developing osteoporosis, brittle bone disease, bone fractures, etc. Just before and during their teenage years, children need to secure enough calcium from food to provide the foundation for strong bones. During this period of time, the body builds about a half of the bone which will ever have.

To increase calcium intake, provide children with low-fat milk or different flavors instead of other beverages that have many calories and few nutrients. The dairy products consumed at each meal can ensure that children achieve the recommended daily dose of calcium.

225 ml of milk of any type, 225 ml of yogurt and about 35 mg of hard cheese, each of these containing approximately the same amount of calcium. In addition, milk and certain yogurts contain vitamin D that helps calcium to act effectively.

Orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D may be a source of calcium, except dairy. Children who do not consume enough dairy or fortified foods need calcium supplements.


Essential fibers for the feeling of satiety

The daily program, full of outdoors activities affects the children, who often eat less fiber than they should. The main reason for the lack of whole grains rich in fiber, fresh fruit and vegetables is that these foods are usually consumed at home.

A high fiber diet for children is a challenge. Fibers are needed to combat constipation, stimulating bowel movements and ease removal of the stool. Fiber helps to install satiety of children.

When consumed as part of a balanced diet, fiber has a positive role for people with type two diabetes or who have high blood cholesterol. High-fiber diets can reduce risk of heart disease later in life.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. In general, high-fiber foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals to stimulate growth and customer development. They also contain beneficial plant compounds, called phytonutrients that enhance a child’s immunity.

The daily amount of dietary fiber depends on the child’s age. Calculate the child’s daily fiber in grams, depending on its age and add the number 5. For example, a child of 5 years should receive 10 g of fiber daily.

Increase intake of fiber for your family by introducing a fruit or a vegetable as a snack. In addition to that, you can include in the menus bread that contains whole grain and seeds.

Try adding some kinds of vegetables, including lentils, chickpeas, white beans, salads, soups and omelets. Incidentally many of these foods provides optimum amounts of potassium and magnesium.


Magnesium – an essential nutrient for growth

Magnesium is involved in about 300 body functions, being responsible for growth and development. This mineral helps maintain the normal function of muscles, nerves and heart, help to strengthen the immune system, stimulates the production of energy and support healthy bones.

In fact, about half of the body magnesium is located in the bones of children, while the remained half is inside cells and blood.

That’s how much magnesium your child needs each day:
- 3 years old – 80 mg
- Up to 8 years old – 130 mg
- Up to 13 years old – 240 mg
- Up to 18 years old – male – 410 mg
- Up to 18 years old – women – 300 mg

Generally, on food labels is not enrolled magnesium content. However this is not that important. It is enough to recognize foods high in magnesium and to give these to eat to your children.

By offering dark green vegetables, various nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, whole grains, beans, white and black to children, as part of a balanced diet, you will help them to assimilate the necessary magnesium for the body.

To cover the magnesium daily needs, a boy of 15 years old can consume about 500 ml of skim milk, 4 slices whole grain bread, a cup of whole grains or 50 mg of almond.


Vitamin E – an essential nutrient for good health

Vitamin E plays an important role for cell health. As nutrient and powerful antioxidant, vitamin E fights free radicals, toxins and products resulting from the normal metabolism, exposure to ultraviolet rays, air pollution and cigarette smoke.

Vitamin E is vital for a strong immune system. It is found in abundance in fatty foods that you might remove from your child’s diet in order to keep him slim. If the child is eats low-fat foods, this may limit the intake of vitamin E.

You can restrict the consumption of nuts, but this could increase the prevalence of allergies (if they are given later). Attention must be given especially when parents or siblings already have allergies. Talk to your pediatrician about allergies, if you fall into one of these categories. In food there are eight forms of vitamin E, so it won’t be very difficult for you find it.

To increase intake of vitamin E, you should add vegetable oils, wheat germ, fortified foods and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach to your daily diet.

Only 30 grams of almonds meet the daily requirement of vitamin E in children aged 4-8 years. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides the daily requirement of vitamin E in children aged 9-13 years. However, there are other ways to enjoy vitamin E excepting the consumption of nuts or sunflower seeds.

Fortified cereals are a great way to meet your child’s needs of vitamin E. By using sunflower and saffron oil for cooking and salads, are offered more vitamin E to the body than rapeseed and corn oils.


Potassium – an essential nutrient for supporting cardiovascular activity

Potassium ensure the normal functioning of the heart and the muscular system, maintain the fluids balance, participate in energy production and help strengthen bones. A diet rich in potassium is useful for increasing blood circulation to the head in adults.

Children who eat foods high in potassium may later have a balanced blood pressure. Potassium is found in many foods. Why is not enough for children? The answer is that most foods are processed.

Children, like adults, don’t eating enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are rich in potassium. Dairy and dairy preparations, meat and seafood are good sources of potassium. In general, processed foods give even less potassium than sodium.

It is therefore recommended to avoid both processed food and beverages with preservatives and chemicals that have different nutritional qualities. For example, approximately 200 ml of orange juice provides four times more potassium than an orange flavored drink.

A cup of yogurt that contains 430 mg of potassium is a more appropriate choice than some chocolate cake with only 30 mg of potassium.

That’s how much potassium should assimilate children every day:
- 3 years old – 300 mg
- Up to 8 years old – 3800 mg
- Up to 13 years old – 4500 mg
- Up to 18 years old – 4700 mg.

It is important for parents to serve at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack and encourage children to eat the same food. It is advisable to provide to a child a balanced diet containing fresh meat, seafood and dairy products to maximize the intake of potassium.

A diet low in processed foods rich in whole grains, lean protein and fat dairy foods help your child get the essential nutrients for the body.


Vitamin D – one of the most important vitamins

Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins for the body. Most people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which is associated in adults with osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and depression. It is still unclear why vitamin D prevents these conditions but lack of this vitamin is now a greater concern reason than in the past.

Experts agree that vitamin D is needed to maximize calcium absorption, bone growth and strength. Children who receive too little vitamin D can develop rickets and later, osteoporosis.

Some experts recommend a required minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Others believe that between 1-18 years need 600 IU of vitamin D per day. The body produces vitamin D when exposed only to strong sunlight and store it to use later.

Foods rich in vitamin D include fortified milk and other foods such as some types of breakfast cereals, orange juice and yogurt.

Other foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Supplements are another source of vitamin D. Children who doesn’t drink milk fortified with vitamin D should take vitamin D supplements to compensate for this lack in their diets.

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