7 Important Nutrition Tips for Children Under Five
Children who are exposed to outdoor activities are at higher risk of catching germs. Depending on the quality of the air outside or the sanitary conditions they play in, they could catch a cold or worse. That is why it’s important for mothers to provide proper nutrition to help support the immune system of children under five. As long as your child gets a balanced nutrition and physical activities, they will have a good foundation for their immune system, and you don’t need to worry about your child falling ill or at risk of catching a disease and with this, you can expose your child to the world to help build their Resilience.
What are the necessary nutritional requirements to support your child’s immune system? Read below for more tips.
Prebiotics are food for good bacteria. Prebiotics encourage the good bacteria to multiply and grow exponentially in your child’s body. A healthy level of good bacteria is required to defend child’s body against potentially harmful bacteria. Hence, foods containing prebiotics provide a natural defence for your child’s immune system.
Prebiotics are found naturally in the following foods:
Bananas, Onions, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Chicory, Garlic, Artichokes, Whole-wheat foods
Some growing up milks also contain prebiotics and can help supplement a balanced diet.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that would give your child health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts (a.k.a the good bacteria). These good bacteria help to fight against the bad bacteria which are in your child’s body. Probiotics can be found in various foods such as yogurt, tempeh & cottage cheese.
Did you know? Not all Probiotics are the same! The strain designation is important, as different strains of the same species may have different health effects. Probiotics need to be widely studied and the strain must be proven to bring benefits to the gut & immune health. Robust safety profile has been documented in clinical trials for some probiotic strains, such as Bifidobacterium Breve M-16V (BBM-16V).
Carbohydrates are an efficient source of energy. Hence, it’s important to choose good sources of carbohydrates for your child. Sources of good carbohydrates are apples, green beans, sugar snap peas, dairy products, fresh fruits, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, and grains.
Protein is a growth nutrient which plays a role in building, repairing and replacing body tissues. Sources of protein for your child are seafood (e.g. salmon), dairy products (e.g. cheese and yogurt), fabacea (leguminosae) (e.g. soybean, tofu and green beans), beef, poultry meat, eggs, peanut butter, and grains.
Fibre is an indigestible part of carbohydrates. It supports good bowel movement. Crunchy and chewy foods such as grains and legumes are sources of good fibre. Other sources of good fibre are fruits and vegetables.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients for the body. They’re critical for several important functions in your body and must be consumed from food.
The essential vitamins and minerals that are important include:
● Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E are important antioxidants
● Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D helps in bone formation
● Iron and copper are needed for blood cell production
● Zinc is needed for body immunity and is essential for growth
● Potassium are needed to regulate water balance of the body.
Fat functions as the most concentrated source of energy in the body. The development of your child’s brain requires the proper types and right amount of fat. The brain consists of nearly 60% fat and consumes 30-45% energy in an average-sized child between 6 and 12 years of age.1,2 Some foods that are high in healthy sources of fat are avocado, corn, cheese, oily fish (such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon), coconut and olive oil.
Now you should have known what to give to your child to optimize their immune system. With a strong immune system, they are ready to be exposed to the world to help build their Resilience for their future success.
1. Chang, Chia-Yu, Der-Shin Ke, and Jen-Yin Chen. "Essential fatty acids and human brain." Acta Neurol Taiwan 18.4 (2009): 231-41.
2. le Coutre, Johannes, and Jeroen AJ Schmitt. "Food ingredients and cognitive performance." Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 11.6 (2008): 706-710.