The growth of children is something that worries parents a lot. There are many factors involved in the normal growth process and the need for 'everything to work well'. Genetics, previous illnesses, environment in which the child grows up and, of course, nutrition and food. What are the foods that help children grow?
The greatest growth in children occurs in the first year of life and adolescence, although there is steady growth in preschool age. All this process is controlled and supervised by the pediatrician in the check-ups, hence it is very important not to skip any, because this growth is a sign that they are healthy.
This process can be altered by disease (hormonal deficiencies, chronic diseases) or abnormal situations (prematurity, abandonment, lack of affection), but also due to individual circumstances such as gender (boys and girls have different rhythms), genetic influence (high or low family members) or the maturational rhythm of the child.
And how does diet influence this entire process? Nutrient needs vary depending on the stage of the child. There is an increase in the amounts of calories in infancy and adolescence compared to the preschool years.
Muscles and bones are involved in growthFor this reason, a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron is essential; Although these nutrients are highlighted in these stages of accelerated growth, this does not mean that they do not have to be included throughout life because the body is in permanent changes.
The protein they cannot be absent from children's nutrition. They have a structural function, that means that they help the formation of new tissue, which is why they are so important for the growth of children and adolescents.
Proteins can be of animal or vegetable origin, depending on the type of diet a child takes, either an omnivorous diet (it includes both types of proteins) or has a vegetarian diet, which in this case will be only of plant origin. Where can we find them?
- Those of animal origin They are found in meat, chicken, fish, dairy products and derivatives.
- The vegetable origin They are found in legumes such as lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans and derivatives (tofu, tempeh), in whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, seitan, quinoa (pseudocereal) and amaranth, nuts and seeds.
Nor can we forget about the carbohydrates, which are a source of energy necessary for the growth of the child and to maintain vital functions. Complex carbohydrates are always recommended, that is, those that require more time to digest and absorb.
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains (brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, oats ...) legumes (lentils, beans, soybeans, chickpeas, peas), root vegetables (potato, sweet potato, cassava) and in vegetables and fruits.
The fats are essential nutrients for its energy contribution. It is recommended to consume the one found in nuts, olive oil or other vegetable oils, seeds and avocado.
As we have explained previously, there are also three nutrients that we must control so that they are not lacking in the child's diet:
Children need de an extra intake of calcium, because it is one of the main constituents of bones, which are in full formation at this time. Calcium can be obtained from foods of animal origin (dairy such as milk, yogurt, cheeses and some fish such as sardines and anchovies) or from foods of plant origin (such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fortified tofu with calcium and calcium-fortified vegetable drinks).
Phosphorus is found, according to the Practical Manual of Nutrition in Pediatrics, prepared by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, in dairy products, whole grain products, meats, seafood, legumes, nuts and eggs have a high content of phosphorus in meat.
It helps the formation of red blood cells responsible for distributing oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body, favoring the development of children. There are two types of iron:
1. The Hem, found in foods of animal origin (red meat, organ meats and seafood) and that are optimally absorbed in the body.
2. The NO Hem, which we can obtain from the consumption of legumes, green leafy vegetables and nuts. This type of non-heme iron has a lower absorption in the body, therefore, it is important to combine with foods rich in vitamin C to optimize its absorption, we can find foods rich in vitamin C such as tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi, and citrus .
Now that you know what the foods that promote the development and growth of childrenYou just have to review your diet to see if they are included and, if they are not, start incorporating them.
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