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Top 5 nutrients for kids health

Top 5 nutrients for kids health

1. A mix of fats for healthy brain and nervous system development

The modern assault on fats has lead to many of us naturally choosing ‘low fat’ options for ourselves and our kids, on the mistaken belief they are better for long term health. And where as fast foods, fried foods and processed foods contain fats that are bad for our bodies and bad for our health, the fats found in meat, whole dairy, fish and nuts are actually necessary for the development of a healthy brain and nervous system in kids. Just remember to mix-it-up. A good way to do this is by choosing meat, fish and vegetarian options such as lentils, kidney beans or tofu at least once or twice a week for your evening meal.

2. Calcium for strong teeth & bones

We all know the benefits of consuming a diet rich in calcium to support the development of healthy teeth and strong bones. But did you know that even though dairy is a good source of calcium not all dairy is the same?

Whole milk, for example, is the most suitable milk for kids (when taken in moderation as a part of a balanced diet) due to its higher nutrient content. And when it comes to digestive health, a good probiotic yoghurt is much easier to digest for those kids with ‘irritable’ digestive systems or a tendency to suffer from diarrhoea associated with milk, cheese or ice-cream.

And don’t forget, Calcium can also be found in number of plant foods (a handful of almonds, for instance, carries the same amount of calcium as a 150ml glass of milk). 

3. Zinc for proper growth and development

Found in the highest amounts in shellfish, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and mushrooms, Zinc is extremely important for the healthy growth and development of kids’ bones, skin and nervous systems. But due to its concentration in foods that are not usually found on the kids menu, it can be difficult for some kids to get enough, meaning conditions like eczema can be made worse when a child is deficient. 

Foods that contain lesser amounts of Zinc, but are more palatable for kids, include eggs and meat. If your family is vegan or vegetarian, legumes and whole grains also contain Zinc, but due to the presence of natural substances such as phytic acid, digestion and absorption is not as good meaning these kids be more susceptible to Zinc deficiency. In such cases, a good, naturally flavoured kid’s multivitamin that contains zinc amino acid chelate, may be indicated to reduce the chance of a deficiency developing. 

4. Iron for appetite and energy

Sometimes the biggest difficulty in getting kids to eat their meals is a lack of appetite. A little known fact is that iron deficiency may sometimes be the cause for low hunger. But Iron is a mineral that can be destructive if it is given to people without a deficiency. So if your children are vegan, vegetarian or have a low appetite, be sure to ask your healthcare professional for an iron studies blood test before committing to an iron supplement. Alternately, make sure your child’s diet contains ample of iron containing foods such as red meat (in the case of carnivores) or plenty of green leafy vegies accompanied by orange juice (for vegan or vegetarian children).

5. Complex carbohydrates for energy

Whilst sugar can be the enemy when it comes to keeping your kids energy levels stable, complex carbohydrates provide nutrients and energy that are slow burning and release energy into the blood stream over the course of the day. The simple way to improve your kids’ vitality is to ensure you choose wholegrain, rather than white options when it comes to cereals and grains. It can be as simple as choosing wholegrain bread, rather than white; brown rice or quinoa rather than white rice (unless the white rice is basmati, which also has a naturally low GI); dried cane sugar (also known as rapadura) when adding sugar to cooking, instead of adding white or caster sugar); and wholemeal or spelt pasta, rather than run-of-the-mill white pasta.

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Top 5 nutrients for kids health

The modern assault on fats has lead to many of us naturally choosing ‘low fat’ options for ourselves and our kids, on the mistaken belief they are better for long term health. And where as fast foods, fried foods and processed foods contain fats that are bad for our bodies and bad for our health, the fats found in meat, whole dairy, fish and nuts are actually necessary for the development of a healthy brain and nervous system in kids. Just remember to mix-it-up. A good way to do this is by choosing meat, fish and vegetarian options such as lentils, kidney beans or tofu at least once or twice a week for your evening meal.

1. A mix of fats for healthy brain and nervous system development

The modern assault on fats has lead to many of us naturally choosing ‘low fat’ options for ourselves and our kids, on the mistaken belief they are better for long term health. And where as fast foods, fried foods and processed foods contain fats that are bad for our bodies and bad for our health, the fats found in meat, whole dairy, fish and nuts are actually necessary for the development of a healthy brain and nervous system in kids. Just remember to mix-it-up. A good way to do this is by choosing meat, fish and vegetarian options such as lentils, kidney beans or tofu at least once or twice a week for your evening meal.

2. Calcium for strong teeth & bones

We all know the benefits of consuming a diet rich in calcium to support the development of healthy teeth and strong bones. But did you know that even though dairy is a good source of calcium not all dairy is the same?

Whole milk, for example, is the most suitable milk for kids (when taken in moderation as a part of a balanced diet) due to its higher nutrient content. And when it comes to digestive health, a good probiotic yoghurt is much easier to digest for those kids with ‘irritable’ digestive systems or a tendency to suffer from diarrhoea associated with milk, cheese or ice-cream.

And don’t forget, Calcium can also be found in number of plant foods (a handful of almonds, for instance, carries the same amount of calcium as a 150ml glass of milk). 

3. Zinc for proper growth and development

Found in the highest amounts in shellfish, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and mushrooms, Zinc is extremely important for the healthy growth and development of kids’ bones, skin and nervous systems. But due to its concentration in foods that are not usually found on the kids menu, it can be difficult for some kids to get enough, meaning conditions like eczema can be made worse when a child is deficient. 

Foods that contain lesser amounts of Zinc, but are more palatable for kids, include eggs and meat. If your family is vegan or vegetarian, legumes and whole grains also contain Zinc, but due to the presence of natural substances such as phytic acid, digestion and absorption is not as good meaning these kids be more susceptible to Zinc deficiency. In such cases, a good, naturally flavoured kid’s multivitamin that contains zinc amino acid chelate, may be indicated to reduce the chance of a deficiency developing. 

4. Iron for appetite and energy

Sometimes the biggest difficulty in getting kids to eat their meals is a lack of appetite. A little known fact is that iron deficiency may sometimes be the cause for low hunger. But Iron is a mineral that can be destructive if it is given to people without a deficiency. So if your children are vegan, vegetarian or have a low appetite, be sure to ask your healthcare professional for an iron studies blood test before committing to an iron supplement. Alternately, make sure your child’s diet contains ample of iron containing foods such as red meat (in the case of carnivores) or plenty of green leafy vegies accompanied by orange juice (for vegan or vegetarian children).

5. Complex carbohydrates for energy

Whilst sugar can be the enemy when it comes to keeping your kids energy levels stable, complex carbohydrates provide nutrients and energy that are slow burning and release energy into the blood stream over the course of the day. The simple way to improve your kids’ vitality is to ensure you choose wholegrain, rather than white options when it comes to cereals and grains. It can be as simple as choosing wholegrain bread, rather than white; brown rice or quinoa rather than white rice (unless the white rice is basmati, which also has a naturally low GI); dried cane sugar (also known as rapadura) when adding sugar to cooking, instead of adding white or caster sugar); and wholemeal or spelt pasta, rather than run-of-the-mill white pasta.

Top 5 nutrients for kids health
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