How to Improve Your Child's Nutrient Absorption

Date: Tuesday, Nov 20,2019

Children need healthy, nutritious food to help them grow both physically and mentally. Good nutrient absorption through good eating habits from a young age ensures that they don't suffer from any nutrition deficiencies, or consume too many foods high in sugar and salt.

In Singapore, the Health Promotion Board advises parents to use My Healthy Plate as a guide when planning what to feed your children. My Healthy Plate provides a visual guide for creating balanced and healthy meals, easier for mums and their kids to follow.1

Set a sleep routine

A pre-bedtime routine is absolutely essential to getting baby to sleep: changing the environment can help condition baby to start settling down.

However, it's not just about eating the right foods, nutrient absorption is important, too! Here's a list of the essential nutrients that children should have in their diets and the best ways to improve nutrient absorption.

Iron

Iron-rich foods help transport oxygen in the blood, build muscles and are important for brain development. Iron-fortified cereals, bread and milk formulas are child-friendly sources. Other good sources of iron include red meat, eggs, chickpeas, poultry, fish and lentils.

Vitamin C helps the body absorb more iron, so give your child foods rich in this vitamin, such as oranges, berries, lemons, tomatoes, broccoli and capsicum.2

Calcium

Healthy bones and teeth rely on a good supply of calcium; give your child calcium-rich foods such as dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese), tofu and green leafy vegetables.

Your little one needs vitamin D to help their body absorb calcium. Sunlight on the skin is the best way to get vitamin D, but do limit your child's daily exposure to the sun to a few minutes a day. Vitamin D is also found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks and oily fish like sardine, tuna and salmon.

Another absorption boost for calcium comes from sn-2 palmitate, a unique lipid structure found in breast milk and certain milk formulas that helps nutrient absorption and improves bone strength.

Fats

Fats are an essential nutrient for children, as it gives them energy and also helps to transport, store and absorb some vitamins. However, not all fats are created equal

Unsaturated fats are a better choice, and can be found in salmon, avocados and vegetable oils. Limit your child's consumption of saturated and trans fats, which are found in butter, cheese, fried foods, and snacks such as cakes and cookies.

To help their digestive systems absorb key fats in their diet, supplement their food with formula milk rich in sn-2 palmitate, a nutrient that helps the body absorb fat. Kids with higher sn-2 palmitate intake had less insoluble fatty acid soaps and calcium in their stools, indicating better absorption of fats thanks to the sn-2 palmitate in their diets.3

Vitamins

Children need a wide range of vitamins. Vitamin A enables children to grow and gives them healthy skin too; this can be found in dairy products, as well as orange and yellow vegetables. Vitamin B is essential for the production of red blood cells and aids in metabolism too; it's found in meat, poultry, fish, milk, soy, eggs and enriched cereals.

Vitamin C helps your child to fight off infections and makes their tissues and muscles strong; citrus fruits are a great source, as well as tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and strawberries.

Vitamin D helps your child absorb calcium, while Vitamin E (from seeds and nuts) boosts their immune system. Then there's Vitamin K, which is essential for their blood to clot and is found in eggs and green leafy veggies such as spinach and broccoli. Healthy fats help their bodies to absorb vitamins, especially Vitamins A, D, E and K.4

The role of hydration

One of the roles that water plays is to carry nutrients and oxygen to our cells. Water helps to dissolve the vitamins and minerals that we get from our food, then deliver them to the rest of our body, to reap the benefits. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your child stays hydrated, to get the most out of the nutrients that they eat.

Gut health and nutrient absorption

A healthy digestive system is essential to aid in nutrient absorption. A child with good gut health will be able to absorb nutrients better, so having good gut bacteria in their system is a must. Probiotics and prebiotics are recommended for this.

Sn-2 palmitate, for instance, is a prebiotic that helps increase levels of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria,5 gut microbes that help food digestion and absorption of nutrients.

A2 ß-casein is another prebiotic your kid might need: it’s an easily-digestible milk protein that reduces gastrointestinal discomfort and flatulence.6 By leading to a less fussy tummy, A2 ß-casein helps the body better absorb the nutrients it needs.7

Illuma Stage 3 Growing-Up Formula Milk Powder is suitable for children from one year and above. This advanced growing-up formula contains a unique combination of sn-2 palmitate and A2 β-casein, offering a range of nutritional and gastrointestinal benefits for your little one.

For more tips, Contact Us to chat with our friendly Club Illume consultants.

References

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