What should your child be eating
In an earlier post (Food and Your Child’s Behaviour) I talked about food and how it can impact on children’s behaviours and the importance of avoiding certain additives and preservatives to help your child’s mood and behaviour.
Today I’m going to talk about the types of foods, vitamins and minerals all children need to be both physically and emotionally healthy.
Research has shown that omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish are essential in stabilising mood swing, improving concentration, general behaviour and learning abilities of children with ADHD but it is also helpful for all children.
Best sources of omega-3:
- Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardine and perch
- Omega-3-enriched eggs
- Walnuts, linseeds and flaxseeds
For more options check out the heart foundations list of omega 3 content in fish at their website www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Omega3levelsinfishandseafood.pdf
Deficiencies in zinc and iron have been linked to children’s behavioural issues. Research shows that some children with ADHD have lower levels of zinc – improving zinc levels in children with ADHD has been shown to reduce symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and impaired socialisation.
Best sources of Iron and zinc:
- Lean red meats such as beef, lamb and veal
- Chicken, pork, fish and shellfish
- Wholemeal/wholegrain breads and cereals.
- Dried peas, beans and legumes – lentils, baked beans, soybeans, kidney beans
- Leafy green vegetables -spinach, parsley, broccoli
- Eggs – free range or organic to avoid added hormones and antibiotics
- Dried fruit
- Dairy foods – cheese, yogurt
This site offers information to help parents increase the level of iron in their children’s diet.
A wide variety or vitamins and minerals are also needed for growing children:
- Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses.
- Good sources of vitamin A include milk, cheese, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables
- Vitamin B There are 13 different B vitamins that your body needed by your body. Deficiencies in these vitamins can lead to mental symptoms include forgetfulness, moodiness, confusion, dizziness, and loss of alertness as well as behavioural problems
- Good sources of vitamin B include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans and all leafy green vegetables
- Vitamin C helps to form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues. It also helps gums to stay healthy minimises bruising as well as helping cuts and wounds to heal. It boosts the immune system, and keeps infections at bay. And it helps the body absorb iron from food.
- Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruit, strawberries and other berries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables
- Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to delayed motor development, muscle weakness, aches and painsThe best source of vitamin D is sunlight
- Good sources of vitamin D include milk and other dairy products as well as fish oil
- Calcium helps to build strong bones as a child grows and promotes healthy nerve and muscle function, helps blood clot, and helps the body convert food into energy
Children need a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. They need limited amounts of sugar and saturated fats. Please lead by example and provide your kids with healthy choices for each meal. Their physical and emotional health depends on it.
Omega-3 fatty acids in ADHD and related neurodevelopmental disorders 2006, Vol. 18, No. 2 , Pages 155-172 Alexandra J. Richardson
Zinc sulphate as an adjunct to methylphenidate for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children: A double blind and randomized trial http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15070418
Until next time ..