It goes without saying that a newborn baby is dependent on good parenting for physical growth and psychological development. If you are a parent of an infant, you would know a great deal goes into raising a baby. As a parent, if you are concerned about the most essential child care tips you should pay heed to, you have come to the right place. Today, we will discuss the immense importance of micronutrients in a child’s diet for proper brain and cognitive development.
A new born baby requires optimum nutrition to meet the needs for proper physical and mental development. The nutrients required are categorized into two parts, namely - micronutrients and macronutrients.
Micronutrients are those nutrients which one requires in small quantity. They have a vital role to play in the all-round development of a child. Neglecting the need of these nutrients in your child’s diet can result in developmental issues like stunted growth, or developmental disorders like Niacin deficiency.
Micronutrients for Proper Physical Growth and Psychological Development
Compared to body cells, brain neurons are more susceptible to dietary chemicals and nutrients. It has been stated that 70% of brain development occurs during fetal life and the rest takes place in early childhood (pre-school years). This awareness is important, to assure that new mothers do not miss including micronutrients in the daily diet for infants. Negligence in proper diet of a child can result in the sub-clinical micronutrient deficiency, also referred as ‘hidden hunger’.
Hidden hunger can affect the full genetic potential of a child for proper physical growth and complete mental development. This happens because micronutrients are responsible for enabling the body to produce essential enzymes and hormones, for proper physical and mental growth in a new born baby.
Role of Micronutrients in the diet of Toddlers
Micronutrient comprises of vitamins and minerals, and each of them has a different role to play for different body functions. Following are the roles of important micronutrients in the human body:
Vitamin A strengthens the immune system and improves vision. Vitamin A is also required for stronger bones. Egg yolk, whole milk, spinach, broccoli and oranges are good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D plays a role in regulating calcium levels in blood and is also good for healthy bones. The best source of vitamin D comes from sunlight. However, foods such as tuna, salmon, orange juice and breakfast cereals are the best food options to get Vitamin A.
Folate or Folic Acid is a micronutrient which helps in cell division and the synthesis of DNA. Legumes, grains, and leafy vegetables are good sources of Folate.
Calcium is an essential micronutrient, important in the formation of bones and teeth. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy cellular metabolism. Dairy foods are major sources of calcium. Kale, Chinese Cabbage, and Turnip are also enriched with this essential nutrient.
Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body, apart from supporting the development of the brain and nervous system. Beef, liver, oysters are rich heme iron sources whereas tofu, spinach and legumes can be consumed for non-heme iron.
Zinc is also a micronutrient, which is important for normal physical growth. Foods like oysters, beef and legumes are good sources of Zinc.
A healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition are the pillars of proper physical and psychological development of a child. Not including these essential micronutrients in your child’s diet can lead to issues like, impaired physical or cognitive development, also referred to as stunted growth.
Hope this article has been able to provide some important insights about your child’s proper micronutrition demands and how to cater them.