Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why do children need nutrients?

"The child is the father of the man." Or "the mother" for that matter! What children eat when they are young goes a long way in the state of their health as they get older. Children are much more active than elders, and they need enough sustenance to nourish their bodies as they are also growing. They are also exposed to various germs in school, in the playground or even at the mall. They need to have the energy to constantly fight infections. A balanced diet for a child should include a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins and minerals. They also need other nutrients which aid in different ways, but these are the big five. Are you making sure that your child is getting enough nutrients to keep them healthy and grow strong?

The big five

Let us take a look at the five important nutrients that are needed to provide a child with a balanced diet.


Proteins are called the building blocks of the human body. Proteins optimize tissue build up and build new cells. They help give you energy for activities. Each and every cell in the human body has proteins. This makes it a very important nutrient. Food like dairy products, eggs, meats, lentils and beans are high in protein content.


Carbohydrates generate the energy that our body needs for our daily activities. It usually forms the bulk of our diet as we burn up the carbs when we go about our daily chores. It helps the brain, nervous system and heart in their functions. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar once digested. This sugar is called glucose. Glucose provides the body with energy. The more active one is, the more carbs one needs to fuel the body. Children are very active usually and burn carbs much faster that adults. If your child is easily tired, then you should up their intake of carbs. Carbohydrates are made of starch and are found in rice, flour, sugar and most other staple foods.


Calcium is essential for the human body as it helps make the bones, teeth etc strong. It is a vital ingredient in a child’s diet as they are in their growing stages. A good dose of calcium in their diet will help the bones grow stronger. Calcium is found mostly in dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cream, cheese etc.


There are different types of vitamins that the body uses for various purposes. They perform a number of roles in the functioning of the body. They make bones stronger, boost the body’s energy, heal wounds, raise immune levels, help vision etc. Vitamin A helps your eyes. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin B helps the body release energy during activities. Different foods are high in different types of vitamins. For example carrots are a great source of Vitamin A and beetroots and liver are good sources of Vitamin C. A good balance of meat and vegetables will ensure that your child is getting enough vitamins.


Both vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients as they are available only in small amounts in the food we ingest. Some of the minerals that our body needs are iron, fluoride, zinc and copper. Each helps in different ways. They have many functions like protecting the body cells and enhancing enzyme activity to name a few.

There are many ways to incorporate these essential nutrients in your child’s diet. With a diet comprising of a good balance of nutrients your child will grow healthy and strong.

Preventing Diabetes: What Everyone Should Know

Diabetes is a common ailment that gives rise to many problems. Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are high. There are two types of diabetes which vary depending on the ability of the body to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin. Juvenile diabetes, insulin dependant diabetes and early onset diabetes fall into this category. It usually manifests during childhood or early adulthood. Type 2 diabetes is when the amount of insulin produced by the body is inadequate. Let us take a closer look at these two types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

This type of diabetes is not very common. People with a type I diabetes will have to take insulin injections on a daily basis for the rest of their life. They will also have to be careful with their diet. It mostly occurs in children and young adults. The reason for this diabetes is usually genetics but sometimes it gets triggered for unknown reason.

Type 2 diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes. The reason for this diabetes is usually unhealthy lifestyle. It can also be hereditary. People who have parents or grandparents who are diabetic should be extra careful and lead a healthy lifestyle. This kind of diabetes can kept in check with exercise and balanced diet. But it is a progressive disease and will steadily get worse till it reaches a point where the person will have to resort to medication.

Symptoms of diabetes

The signs for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are similar. Here are some of the early warning signs of diabetes.

·        Frequent urination

·        Thirst

·        Weight loss

·        Exhaustion

·        Numbness in the extremities 
Preventing diabetes

There are many steps you can take to prevent diabetes. If it is type I diabetes, there really is no prevention. But if it is type 2 diabetes, you can make a lifestyle change to prevent it. Some of the things that you can do are:

Eat healthy food
Eating a balanced meal and reducing your intake of sweets and food rich in carbohydrates will help. You should also cut down on very spicy food and use less oil in the food that you eat. Cutting out junk food, fizzy drinks and sugar is good. Consulting a dietician and getting a balanced diet is a good idea.

Eat at a proper time
It is important to have three good meals which are well balanced and a small snack in between.  Many people, because of work timings eat their meals at irregular hours and this is not good for the body. Make sure that you eat your food at the right time every day.

Keep fit
If you are a fitness fanatic and enjoy going to the gym and working out, you are already on the path to better health. If you are not doing any kind of physical activity, walking daily is a good form of exercise. By exercising on a regular basis you will be keeping your weight under control. Obesity is one of the factors that may lead to diabetes.

Avoid unhealthy habits
Alcohol, smoking and drugs are all not good for the body and if you are doing any of these on a regular basis, the chance of getting diabetes is more. So, the faster you kick the habit, the better it will be for you.

Making a change in lifestyle will certainly help in preventing diabetes. Not only will you keep diabetes at bay, but by leading a healthier lifestyle you will be preventing a number of other diseases that come with age.