Despite parents’ best efforts, young children often suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Deficiency of Iron, Vitamin B12, Magnesium and Zinc are very common amongst children. Blame it on picky eating or excessive consumption of processed foods, the end result is that children don’t get enough nutrients that are crucial to their growth and development. Undernourished children don’t grow as tall as they should, are prone to illnesses, stress and even exhibit strikingly increased behavioural disorders.
Fortunately, most of the nutritional deficiencies can be treated, reversed and prevented. To begin with, we must always encourage our children to consume more natural and “real” foods. Nature has provided us with many nutrient dense superfoods that pack a powerful nutritional punch. You may be surprised to know that these superfoods are easily available, absolutely delicious, and often enjoyed by children. Here are 6 superfoods for kids that you need to make sure your children are having regularly.
As they say, good things come in small packages! Almonds are truly nature’s mini-sized superfoods. Almond is an energy-dense food with perfect balance of all the essential nutrients. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamin E, folates and minerals like calcium and magnesium, all compactly packed inside a tiny nut. A few almonds in your child’s diet everyday will nourish them in many ways.
Even though eggs have been a topic of debate for many years due to their high cholesterol content and the risk of heart disease, recent studies have shown that eggs are absolutely indispensable because of the high-quality proteins, fatty acids and Vitamins they contain. Breakfast with high-quality proteins such as egg protein not only provides long-lasting sense of fullness but also gives sustained energy over a long period of time. While egg whites supply body building proteins for a growing child, egg yolks act like nutritional powerhouses. Egg yolk is packed with B complex vitamins, Iron, Selenium, Zinc and healthy fats that play crucial roles in a child’s brain development. Brain contains about 25 percent of the total cholesterol found in the body and this cholesterol is critical for the efficient functioning of nerve cells that allow children to think, learn, build skills and form memories.
Most kids are fond of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. They are by far the best fruits to include in your child’s diet. Berries are seasonal fruits and that’s why they are packed with nutrients that help children fight seasonal illnesses. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants they can give kids’ immune systems and overall health a good boost. Berries are very versatile fruits, that can be easily incorporated into your child’s diet. They can be mixed with breakfast cereals, desserts, smoothies or can be eaten as a snack.
Avocados are full of good fats that children need in their diet every day. Oleic acid, an Omega 9 series fatty acid found in avocados improves brain, muscle and eye functions, protects cells from free radical damage and prevents childhood obesity and type 2 Diabetes. Half an avocado has 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. Avocados are also a good source of fibre, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. An avocado will suffice more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.
Lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes its red colour is considered as one of the most powerful antioxidants. It helps fight toxins, pesticides, viruses and cancer cells in our bodies. Research shows that eating tomatoes every day will reduce cancer risk by 50%. Lycopene also protects eyes, liver and bones from stress and degeneration. Interestingly, tomatoes do not lose lycopene during the cooking process; Instead, cooking further enhances it’s antioxidant activity by substantially raising the levels of Lycopene when heated. Hence both raw and cooked tomatoes have their own health benefits. Tomatoes also contain considerable amounts of water, fiber, calcium, potassium, Vitamins A, B and C which help protect children from dehydration and seasonal illnesses.
We all know that milk is the most important food for children during early years. But even during growing years, milk forms a significant source of nutrients including protein, Vitamins D, A and B12, minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. Rapidly growing bones and tissues of children have greater demand for these nutrients. Protein from milk helps build strong muscles and also produces more antibodies to boost the immune system. Minerals and Vitamin D from milk will make their bones and teeth strong. Therefore drinking enough milk during childhood and teenage will help avoid bone and dental diseases later in life.