Between the age of 2 to 12 years children grow fast and need to be fed right from the beginning. Food plays a vital role in the overall growth and development of children. It is required not only for their growing bones and muscles, but also to boost their brain-power. Basically kids need different types of nutrients and healthy food not only for physical energy but for cognition, focus and memory also.
The daily meals of the kids should be planned in such a way that it includes all the required nutrients and healthy foods for the child. Following is the list of some major nutrients that a child should take daily.
types of NUTRIENTS FOR KIDS
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are also known as energy giving foods. It provides glucose, which is converted to energy and further used in body functioning and physical activities.. Foods rich in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.
Protein: protein is the body’s building block and repair agent. It also helps them to build a strong immunity system. It’s also integral in forming enzymes and hormones in the body. (What are some easy sources of protein for kids?)
Iron: Iron is an important dietary mineral which is essential for the growth and development of kids- both physical and mental growth. Iron helps form hemoglobin that is found in the blood cells of the body . (foods to fight Iron deficiency)
Calcium: one of the most important minerals in our body is CALCIUM. Bones are 70% calcium and it is only calcium which gives bones their hardness for protection and support. Bones also serve as the calcium bank of the body.
Vitamin:Vitamins help the body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential Vitamins — Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and Vitamin Bs. Some help in eyesight and energy production, while others support healthy nerves and cells and in fighting infection. (importance of different vitamins for kids)
Healthy fats: healthy fats are crucial to brain and eye development, and can help stabilize mood. Also help with healthy metabolism, blood clotting and letting the body absorb vitamins.
Fiber: Fiber is the non-digestible carbohydrate. It is responsible for keeping our digestion healthy and regular. Lack of fiber rich food in diet may cause constipation, which is a nutrient deficient disease. (Fiber rich foods for constipation)
Tips for maximum absorption of different types of nutrients
Do you know, Instead of feeding a proper diet and including different types of nutrients to their diet, sometimes their body does not completely absorb the nutrients from the food. There are many ways that can impact the nutrient absorption process. This is why even if you are eating nutrient-rich foods, you might not be getting all the nutrients.
By using below mentioned tips and ways you can help your child reap the benefits of nutrients and improve nutrient absorption through foods.
1.Pairing of foods:
The benefit you get from certain foods depends to the great extent how you combine certain foods. Pairing foods wisely can increase the absorption of different types of nutrients and also promote the overall health.These are some food combinations which increase the nutrient absorption from the food.
- Fat soluable vitamins and fat(oil): To enhance the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K, it is important to consume it with fat (oil). For example, Palak (Spinach) is a great source of Vitamin A (carotenoid). However, cooking it lightly in some fat/oil helps for maximum absorption of this nutrient. When you gently heat the food, the carotenoid releases in the fat/oil, helping in better absorption of these vitamins . Even when you are taking any of its supplements, you should take it with a fat-containing meal. Study reveals that when these Vitamin rich foods are cooked without oil, their absorption is 60% less.
- Iron and vitamin C: Inorder to maximise the absorption of iron from plant based sources( non heme iron) it is required to pair it with vitamin C. The vitamin C helps break the iron down into a form that the body can more easily absorb. So the next time you eat spinach salad or diced apple or iron rich fruits don’t forget to squeeze lemon or orange juice.
- Vitamin D and calcium :One of the most important minerals in our body is CALCIUM. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and works with it to build strong bones. It moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bones.
- Complementary proteins: There are only a few foods that contain all the amino acids that your body needs. These are called complete protein and are mostly obtained from animal sources. But if you are a vegetarian, then most of the plant based protein sources are incomplete. But by pairing incomplete proteins together, you can create a complete protein source. For example rice and black beans, hummus and whole-wheat crackers, quinoa and corn, and whole-wheat bread and peanut butter.
2. Foods best to eat raw:
Eat most of the water soluble or heat sensitive nutrients raw. Heat breaks down some nutrients like vitamin B1, B5 and C, folate, so to absorb them maximum, eat it raw. For example, raw spinach contains 3 times more vitamin C than cooked spinach. Some of these foods are sunflower seeds, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, oranges, lemon etc.
3. Foods best to eat when cooked:
Generally a wide range of nutrient loss from cooking. But there are few foods which provide the most nutrients when cooked. For example when we cook red /orange/ yellow vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes there is a significant increase in the bioavailability of beta carotene found in them. Research shows that lycopene increases by 25 percent when tomatoes are boiled for 30 minutes.
4. Soaking and sprouting:
Dal, rice, beans, nuts, seeds and other whole grains contain phytic acid. Soaking for a few hours before you cook helps to break down the phytic acid which makes it easy for the body to absorb all the nutrients and also digest the food better. Study shows that grains contain arsenic, a compound found in earth‘s crust. By soaking the grain prior to cooking, the arsenic level can come down by 25-30%. Almost all the whole grains, nuts and legumes are high in fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium and protein. Studies show that sprouting may increase these nutrient contents even more.
5. Eat probiotic and prebiotic:
Almost all of the nutrients that we get from foods are absorbed by our gut. So for a healthy gut you should include probiotics and prebiotics in your diet. Probiotics are live bacteria naturally occurring in food that are good for you, your digestion and your GUT. while Prebiotics is a source of food for your gut’s healthy bacteria or food for a healthy gut. Hence including probiotics and prebiotics in your diet to up the nutrient absorption.
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