Proper nutrition is key
Proper nutrition is particularly important for children and adolescents. This age is characterized by steady physical growth and mental development. Dietary behavior has a major impact on nutrient supply and, not least, on academic performance. In addition, the basis for health in old age lies in youth and faulty eating habits can lead to the so-called civilization diseases in old age (e.g. osteoporosis).
Child and adolescent eating habits – Nutrition Report 2012
The micronutrients are insufficient intakes of vitamin A, E, pantothenic acid and folic acid as well as iodine, iron and calcium. Vitamin D intake via food is also unsatisfactory. Although regular exposure to the sun helps to meet vitamin D requirements, it often does not guarantee that children stay outdoors long enough (television, computer).
A balanced diet is usually enough to give the body all the minerals it needs. However, children often have a one-sided diet. The reason for this can often be found in the frequent consumption of ready meals and a picky eating behavior. The resulting low micronutrient intake does not provide the body with enough energy to develop adequately.
Children tend to prefer unhealthy food like fast food or convenience foods. There is usually an undersupply of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains – important sources of vitamins and minerals.
Children with a vegetarian or vegan diet
In children who are fed a purely vegetarian or vegan diet, the risk of iron deficiency is greatly increased, which can lead to a weakened immune system and a decline in performance. There is also a risk of an undersupply of vitamin B12, which is mainly contained in animal foods. If animal foods are completely omitted from your diet, the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating, increases, especially in young children. A vegan diet, which in addition to meat does not include milk and milk products, also leads to the loss of an important source of calcium.
An active life must be well supported
Children often have a full weekly schedule – from school and homework to extracurricular activities such as sports and meeting friends. You should make sure to support both physical and mental performance. Vitamins play an important role here, as does choline and omega-3 fatty acids. These are an important component of cell membranes, especially nerve cells, and are found in the human body, especially in the brain and retina.
Special support during and after an illness
Since children’s immune systems are not yet fully developed, children are particularly susceptible to colds. Coughing or an infection can quickly lead to body fatigue. In these times, it is important to pay more attention to eating enough vitamins and minerals to actively support the body in recovery. Especially in the cold season, it is important to strengthen children’s immune systems and to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins B6, B12, niacin and vitamin C contribute to normal energy metabolism.
Vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system.
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