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Nutrient deficiencies in children: Addressing the impact of the western diet

Nutrient deficiencies in children: Addressing the impact of the western diet

In today's fast-paced world, convenience often takes precedence over nutrition, and this trend has led to a concerning rise in nutrient deficiencies among children.

The prevalence of the Western diet, characterised by processed foods, sugary snacks, and limited fruit and vegetable intake, has created gaps in essential nutrients necessary for a child's growth and development.

Nutritional requirements of children:

During the critical period between 1 and 12 years old, children require a wide range of essential nutrients to support their growth and development. Here are some key nutrients and their food sources:

Calcium: Vital for bone and teeth development, calcium can be found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Leafy greens like kale and broccoli, as well as fortified plant-based milk alternatives, can also provide calcium.

Iron: Essential for the production of red blood cells and cognitive development, iron-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and spinach.

Vitamin D: Necessary for calcium absorption and bone health, vitamin D is synthesized through exposure to sunlight. Food sources include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks.

Vitamin C: Supports immune function and aids in iron absorption. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and tomatoes, are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Important for brain development and cognitive function, omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and eggs or milk can also provide omega-3s.

Vitamin A: Essential for vision, growth, and immune function, vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, apricots, and dairy products.

B vitamins: Important for energy production and nervous system function, B vitamins are found in whole grains, eggs, poultry, fish, dairy products, legumes, and leafy greens.

Fibre: Essential for proper digestion and bowel health, fibre can be obtained from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

Understanding the impact of the Western diet

The Western diet, which prioritises convenience and processed foods, has become increasingly popular in many households.

However, it often lacks the necessary nutrients to support optimal growth in children. Key nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E, K, as well as iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, may be insufficiently supplied by a typical Western diet.

This deficiency can impact a child's physical and cognitive development, immune function, and overall health.

Adding into your child's diet:

Introducing healthy foods to children can sometimes be a challenge. Here are three tips to help make the process smoother and more enjoyable:

Start Early and Be Persistent: It's beneficial to introduce a variety of healthy foods early on, even during the weaning stage. Offer a range of flavours, textures, and colorus to help familiarise your child with different tastes. Be patient and persistent, as it may take several attempts before they develop a liking for certain foods. Keep reintroducing them in different forms and preparations.

Make it Fun and Engaging: Get creative with presentation to make healthy foods more appealing to children. Use colourful plates, arrange fruits and vegetables into fun shapes, or create themed meals. Get children involved in meal planning and preparation. Take them grocery shopping and let them choose a new fruit or vegetable to try. Incorporate storytelling or imaginative play to make mealtimes enjoyable and exciting.

Lead by Example and Family Meals: Children often imitate their parents' behaviour, so be a positive role model by consuming a variety of healthy foods yourself. Family meals provide an opportunity to eat together, promoting a sense of togetherness and encouraging children to try new foods. Offer a balanced selection of dishes that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid pressure or force-feeding tactics, as this can create negative associations with certain foods.

Supporting growth and development

During the early years of life, rapid growth and development occur, making it essential to provide children with adequate nutrients.

Baba West supplements are carefully crafted to include a balanced blend of nutrients to support your child. We recommend:

Children's Multivitamin & Multibiotic Powder 1-12 years: This formulation contains 12.5 billion friendly bacteria and vitamin D alongside vital nutrients such as Vitamins A, B, C & E, folate, biotin and selenium.

Strawberry Fruit Bears: This delicious snack contains friendly bacteria and Vitamin C. Plus it's one of your 5 a day!

The Western diet and a fast-paced lifestyle have contributed to nutrient deficiencies in children, potentially impacting their growth, development, and overall well-being. By prioritising your child's nutritional needs and making informed choices, you can empower them to thrive and grow into healthy individuals.