Micronutrient deficiency among Indian Kids is on a rise with India ranking 97th of 118 nations in the Global Hunger Index 2016. While nutrition is key to good health and growth micronutrient deficiency leads to hidden hunger (lack of vitamins and minerals) and affects the overall brain development and immunity levels in kids.
Micronutrients play a central role in our nutrition. Micronutrients help in the optimization of our physical and mental functioning. While one needs the micronutrients in small amounts, they play vital roles in overall development and well-being in the form of regulation of metabolism and heartbeat, good cellular pH, and bone density.
As mothers, all we want is for our child to be healthy and to have normal growth and development. But we are living in different times now where we tend to give in to the child’s demands for fast food and packaged foods. While we stress on proper weight and height gain, we tend to overlook the overall brain development and immunity levels. Micronutrient malnutrition has been a persistent problem in India. Indian food which is generally rich in macronutrients - carbohydrate, proteins and fats - tend to lack the important micronutrients that one should be consuming daily. Lack of micronutrients can lead to stunted growth in children and an increased risk for various diseases in adulthood. Let’s take a deeper dive into Micronutrients and its need today.
What are the essential Micronutrients?
You need a miniscule amount of micronutrients - essentially vitamins and minerals – to maintain good health. All Vitamins A, B, C, E through K can be derived from the food around us. While Vitamin D can be taken from the Sun, important minerals like zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium, though required in small quantities, are very important for overall brain development of your child.
How Micronutrient Deficiency Affects your child’s growth?
Failure to meet micronutrient requirements can result in challenges to your child’s overall growth.
1. Delayed developmental milestones – By one year, the baby should be on a balanced diet for all kinds of nutrients for reaching developmental milestones on time.
2. Stunted Growth - Growth hormone deficiency is a result of poor eating habits.
3. Iron Deficiency – Anaemia is the biggest nutrition-related health problem in Indian children. Anaemia results in an eight-point lower intelligence quotient in children.
4. Iodine Deficiency - The body does not make iodine. It has to be consumed to prevent the development of conditions like hypothyroidism, goiter, etc.
How to include Micronutrients in your child’s diet to avoid micronutrient deficiency?
1. Vitamin A - Milk, cheese, eggs yolk, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
2. Vitamin B - Whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables
3. Vitamin C - Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberry, cabbage
4. Vitamin D – expose bare skin to the morning sun or Vitamin D supplements
5. Vitamin E - avocado, almonds, sweet potato, spinach, sunflower seeds
6. Iron - Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, spinach, dates, lentils, Kale
7. Calcium - Dairy products, almonds, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, chia seeds
8. Magnesium - Nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables
9. Zinc - Lean meat, chicken, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
10. Selenium – egg, spinach, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, oats, mustard seeds
11. Iodine – Iodine fortified salt, bread, cheese, saltwater fish, cow's milk, eggs, yoghurt
What happens when you lead a Rushed Lifestyle?
We are living a busy lifestyle, no one has enough time on their hands. Adults tend to skip breakfast – the most important meal of the day – because they are running late for work. Mothers face this challenge more than anyone else – getting kids ready for school, breakfast, getting ready for work. We can afford nutrition-rich food, but we don’t have the time to sit and eat a bowl of nutritious breakfast.
Tropicana’s new launch of functional juices - Tropicana Essentials - addresses this nutrient gap to a large extent. Tropicana Essentials is a delicious range of functional fruit juices that are fortified to deliver specific health benefits. While Tropicana Essentials FRUITS & VEGGIES juice is a blend of apple, beetroot, carrot – they are made of 100% Mixed Fruit and Vegetable Juice content (no added sugar or preservatives). The second variant Tropicana Essentials IRON is made from of Apple, Carrot and mixed fruit blends.
As mothers, we are always worried about the amount of sugar or preservatives that our kids consume from packaged foods, and we are always reading the labels. However, the Tropicana Essentials range doesn’t contain any added sugar or preservatives. It only contains fructose (natural sugars) that comes from the fruits.
While you should encourage your child to consume fresh fruits and vegetables the daily intake of 5 serves of fresh fruits and vegetables is not maintained most of the times. A 200ml serving (which makes up one glass) of the Tropicana Essentials FRUITS & VEGGIES juice equals to one serving of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of fruits and veggies. A glass of the Tropicana Essentials IRON helps meet 15% of the RDA of iron. So the next time your kid is fussing over eating carrots or beets and throws away the apple, you know how to get some nutrients in them in the form of these functional juices.
Micronutrient deficiency is a problem in the country and it’s better the mothers realise it and look towards the overall growth and development of kids. Micronutrients are not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet only. Make wise choices.