Good nutrition is the cornerstone for healthy child development. Your child’s nutrition affects the health, development, and function of their whole body, including their brain, heart, eyes and immune system. What your child eats will have a big influence on their mood, behaviour, thoughts, and emotions.
Optimal brain function is dependent upon adequate macronutrients, which include energy/carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A number of micronutrients, such as folic acid and zinc, also perform critical roles in maintaining health. Your child’s nutrition plays a critical role in their health and development.
Key words: Kids Intelligent, IQShield, nutrition for children, child health, brain development, nerve development, child development
Some interesting facts:
- Many learning and behavioural disorders are linked to digestive disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies create an imbalance in neurotransmitters which can affect behaviour, concentration, mood, sleep and addictions
- Many children with learning delay have auditory and/or visual processing issues that do not show up on standard hearing and vision tests
- Saturated fats are vital for children's immune, neurological and endocrine systems
- Addressing food sensitivities can eliminate the need for medications
- Certain neurotherapies stimulate neural pathways for improved attention, language and socialisation
- Children with metabolic, immunologic, neurologic and digestive issues come from families with a history of brain-immuno-gut disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, celiac, depression, schizophrenia and much more
- Allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, ADD/ADHD are usually symptoms of an underlying biochemical imbalance that needs addressing for long-term health
‘We are what we eat’, or so the saying goes. And in many ways it is true. One of the easiest (and essential) ways in which we can look after our children and ourselves is through diet. I include us adults in this because of another cliché, ‘lead by example’. Children acquire habits from others, including ourselves. This includes the parents, and if we don’t pay enough attention to this, we cannot expect our children’s bodies to function optimally, nor can we expect them to pick up good eating habits that may affect them for the rest of their lives.
Like other parts of the body, diet affects brain function. What you eat will have a big influence on your child’s mood, behaviour, thoughts, and emotions. That’s because at the molecular level, our brain is made up of, and runs on, the same molecules that are found in foods. Optimal brain function is dependent upon adequate macronutrients, which include energy/carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A number of micronutrients, such as folic acid and zinc, also perform critical roles in maintaining brain health.
Malnourished children have been shown to be involved in less physical activity and endurance, and suffer from poorer cognitive function and school performance. A deficiency in one, or many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) such as folic acid, vitamin B12, thiamin, niacin, zinc and iron, have been associated with poorer cognitive performance. Behavioral problems, including attention deficits, have also been associated with food insufficiency and malnutrition. This impaired nutritional status during childhood often have long-standing consequences for the health and performance of children well into their adult years.
Like the brain, our eyes are made up largely of neurons and modified neural cells that are affected by light. Apart from the nutrient requirement mentioned above for brain function, the health and function of our children’s eyes require antioxidative vitamins (A, C and E), B group vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Deficiencies in these nutrients leads to poorer vision, particularly night vision, slower light adaptation, and increased cell damage due to oxidative stress which can result in eye conditions later in life including dry eye, glaucoma and age-related macula degeneration.
Nutrition plays a critical role in our immunity. Poor nutrition leads to reduced immune cell function and antibody production. This compromises immune system efficiency, the ability to recognise invading germs and destroy them.
During infections, certain micronutrients are used up faster than usual. The key nutrients involved in maintaining our immunity are zinc, iron, selenium, copper, vitamins A, C, and E, and plant-derived chemicals called flavonoids. Many of these nutrients, are known as “antioxidants”. They protect immune cells and cytokines against damage by free radicals. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants and eating more of them is a sure way of boosting your immunity.
Increasing scientific research on nutrition is continuing to provide new and more accurate information about eating healthy. More recent discoveries of modern nutrition research for instance, are the health benefits of fish oils on the cardiovascular, brain, eye and immune health. The importance of daily exercise has also been highlighted; as many countries are currently experiencing increasingly high levels of obesity (in children as well as adults). Diabetes, which is associated with obesity, is also on the increase worldwide.
1oz. = 28g. 1 Calorie = 4.2 kilojoules
New Food Pyramid (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Eating the right foods is important for general health and wellbeing, although the health of our neural systems and the brain in particular are dependent on a similar but more specific group of nutrients. It has become evident that many children do not receive all the nutrients they need for optimal health and development. The various stresses of the modern world, along with varying cooking methods can reduce the amount of nutrients we obtain from food. With this in mind, supplementation may be appropriate. Improved brain, eye and immune health can be achieved through better nutrition. We are going to discuss the following nutrients in detail:
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin A
- B group Vitamins: Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B9 (folic acid), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin E
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