Kids and Nutrition

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As much attention as you pay to your child’s nutritional needs, are you aware of how much iron she or he gets in their food? Low levels of iron nutrition can permanently stunt your child’s brain development in a critical phase of their growth and drag his or hers IQ down. It can also make physical activity difficult through anemia. The government has done its part trying to take care of this part of kids and nutrition by mandating iron-fortified child formula in some cases. Nonetheless one out of five kids in this country are still iron-deficient. When babies are really young, under a year of age, that’s when they need the most iron  10 mg a day should be sufficient.

Once they grow up, to the age of three or so, they need about half of that. As complete a food as breast milk is, it isn’t good enough for the kind of iron a baby needs. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released its guidelines on the kind of supplements you are supposed to give your baby, starting at around the time they are four months old, to help you do what’s right for you baby.

It isn’t just the government that defines breastmilk as inadequate in some way. Pediatricians all over have thrown their weight behind the notion that kids and nutrition is best served by a combination of breast-feeding and natural foods like spinach, fish and red meat should be on your child’s menu starting at four months of age. Iron-rich foods are not difficult to come by. It’s just that being too dependent on non-fortified child formula and breastmilk might be a problem. Let’s go over some of the best iron-rich foods there are out there for your baby.

Spinach and kale are a great source of iron, of course. But they also pack in a lot of fiber and calcium vitamins. Nuts and walnuts are especially rich in iron. But there’s a lot of other nutritional value to them as well. How do protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fat sound? If they sold baby formula with all this stuff in it, people would be lining up to buy it. Giving your kid nutrition filled with iron is a great idea. But the body isn’t really capable of absorbing iron in its natural state. The body needs vitamin C for this purpose. Giving your child lots of strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe and kiwi with vitamin C is a great way to help with iron absorption.

Just to be on the safe side, it might be a great idea if you could get your child tested for iron deficiency a couple of times in her first year. Deficiency doesn’t really show on the outside. And you don’t want to not know when something isn’t right with your baby.

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