Nutritional deficiencies can affect the overall health of children. Adequate nutrient intake during childhood strongly promotes cognitive health and prevents onset of chronic diseases in later life.
Deficiencies of vitamin D and iron are commonly seen among growing children. In addition, deficiencies of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iodine may also occur in children who do not consume a balanced diet.
A balanced diet is one which provide all the nutrients in required amounts and proper proportions. This can be easily achieved by consuming all the essential nutrients:
- Carbohydrates from whole wheat chapatti, rice, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta etc.
- Proteins from Milk and milk products, pulses and legumes, chicken, eggs, fish etc.
- Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, peanut butter, ghee etc.
- Vitamins and minerals. - Colourful fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, nutrients that we obtain from food play a vital role in physical growth, development & maintenance of normal body function of your child. Prolonged nutrient deficiencies are likely to have a detrimental effect on the growth and development of your child.
Given below is a handy chart that describes the symptoms of different nutrient deficiencies and the food sources that need to be included in the diet to overcome them.
||SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY
With more severe anemia, your child may have:
- Child may act irritable
- Shortness of breath
- Crave unusual foods (called pica)
- Eat less food
- Feel tired or weak all the time
- Have a sore tongue
- Have headaches or dizziness
- Blue-tinged or pale whites of eyes
- Brittle nails
- Pale skin color
- Chicken, fish, and other meats
- Dals, rajma, chana and soybeans
- Raisins and prunes
- Spinach, mustard leaves, turnip greens, methi, bathua etc.
- Bone and muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Milk Products like curd/paneer/Skimmed milk powder/cheese.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinack/methi/mustard leaves etc.
- Ragi and seasame seeds
- Fresh as well as dried fish (small fresh fish)
- Pulses, nuts and oilseeds
- Poor growth
- Muscle weakness
- Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna,
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen gums that bleed easily
- Fresh amla,
- Citrus fruits like oranges/lime/lemon,
- Guava, banana
- Dry skin and lips; thickened tongue
- Frequent infections of the stomach
- Green leafy vegetables- spinach/methi/bathua/mustard leaves etc./
- Sweet potatoes,
- Constant feeling of tiredness accompanied by muscle weakness
- Feeling cold in warm days
- Unusual weight gain
- Milk and milk products like curd/paneer/cheese/skimmed milk powder etc.
- Pulses like arhar/lentils/urad/chana dal/ moong etc./ nuts like almonds, walnuts etc. and oilseeds like flaxseeds, melon seeds etc.
- Poor growth
- Frequent infections
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios etc.
- Seafood like fish/prawns/crab
- Whole grains like wheat/ brown rice
The above-mentioned common micronutrient deficiencies can be overcome by ensuring your child consumes a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients in required amounts. In addition, incorporating fortified foods in your child’s daily diet will further help provide the necessary nutrition needed for their growth and development with the appropriate micronutrients.