Essential Nutrients for Your Child's Right Growth
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As your toddler is growing, he/she is becoming more mobile, walking and running more confidently, and developing balance and coordination. They are undergoing development in all areas such as cognitive, emotional, motor skills, etc. This is the time when their nutrient needs are also growing, and it is critical that their diet provides them with all the essential nourishment to promote and support healthy development.
Studies have shown that adequate intake of Calcium is important for skeletal growth. Research has also proven that low Calcium intake during childhood may lead to decreased bone mass and low bone density1. Some of the good sources of Calcium are milk and milk products (cheese, buttermilk, etc.), nuts, green leafy vegetables, etc.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key role in Calcium and Phosphate synthesis and is an essential nutrient for bone health2. Certain studies done in India have shown that even in apparently healthy children a high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency was noted3. While Spending time in sunlight is known to be the best source of Vitamin D, food sources such as fish, eggs, fats/oils, milk products, etc. should not be underestimated.
Iron is a very important micronutrient that is required for the transportation of oxygen in all tissues of the body and plays a pivotal role in muscle growth4. Moreover, Iron deficiency can affect tissue function too. Indian children are especially prone to it owing to significantly lesser consumption of Meat.
4. Protein/ Amino Acids
Key Amino Acids such as Leucine can stimulate muscle protein generation and hence the growth of muscles. Not consuming enough protein can lead to the poor development of muscles. Protein also plays an important role in bone development and the maintenance of bones.
5. Vitamin C
The body needs Vitamin C for physiological functions and is also essential for the development and maintenance of connective tissue. It is also crucial in bone formation. Vitamin C contributes to collagen formation for the proper functioning of bones5. Citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, etc. are all rich sources of Vitamin C.
6. Vitamin K
Besides enabling blood clotting, Vitamin K also plays an important role in improving bone health. It is required for the synthesis of a key protein needed in bone formation and studies demonstrate that Vitamin K also increases bone mineral density6. Some of the good sources of Vitamin K are green leafy vegetables such kale, spring onions, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.
It is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Choline enables signaling and message transmission in the body. Some of the good sources of Choline include eggs, meats, legumes, and wheat germ.
Zinc is essential for both length and density of bone and a lack thereof can result in growth failure. Zinc also plays an important role in one’s immune system right from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within lymphocytes. Some good sources of Zinc include meat, cereals, grains, milk and milk products, fish, etc.
While it is very important to feed a growing child a healthy balanced diet, it can be a challenging task. Since toddlers have a small stomach and are not able to eat the variety and quantity of food like adults, they might not receive all the necessary nutrients. This gets more heightened when the child is a finicky eater. Hence, adding health drinks like Junior Horlicks# to your toddler’s diet helps complete the nutritional requirements as it is designed as per WHO guidelines^ to help meet the RDA (Required Daily allowance) of these vitamins and minerals.