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Must-have Nutrients in Complementary Foods for Infants

Must-have Nutrients in Complementary Foods for Infants

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Babies undergo rapid physiological changes right from the time of birth. The development of muscles, bones, tissues, and skin takes place at a swift pace. As they grow, babies’ energy and nutritional requirements also increase. You should ensure that your baby receives adequate nourishment at this crucial stage.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

As a baby develops, so does its ability to swallow, process and absorb nutrients from semi-solid foods. While introducing complementary foods, make sure that they are as nutritious as possible. Nutrient-dense complementary foods help in the overall development of your child.

Here’s a list of important nutrients that must be a part of your child’s diet:

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates serve as instant sources of energy. The various types of carbohydrates include simple sugars such as glucose, double sugars such as lactose, complex carbohydrates such as starch, and dietary fibres.

  • Carbohydrates are the first and most important sources of energy. This energy is essential to keep your child playful and energetic.
  • They help in the normal functioning of the brain, heart, digestive and immune systems.

Complementary foods that are rich in carbohydrates include cereals and grains, vegetables, fruits and juices.

Proteins: Proteins are the building blocks of the body. A growing body undergoes wear and tear. Proteins ensure that muscles and tissues are repaired from time to time. They are also essential for the formation of new muscles.

  • Proteins participate in a range of processes such as digestion and metabolism.
  • Proteins play a role in the storage and transportation of essential molecules. For example, haemoglobin, an important constituent of red blood cells, stores and transports oxygen.
  • Antibodies are proteins that help combat infections and diseases.

Food preparations that contain meat, poultry, egg, cheese, yoghurt, legumes and cereals are rich in protein.

Fats: Infants need an adequate amount of fat, as fats are a storehouse of energy. When the body does not have enough carbohydrates, it produces energy by breaking down fat molecules. Apart from energy production, fats also perform the following functions:

  • They form the linings of organs and tissues and provide insulation. These linings also act as padding against shock and physical trauma.
  • Fats help in the absorption and storage of Vitamins A,D,E and K
  • They are essential for the normal development of the brain, skin and hair, and they provide resistance against diseases.

Soups, stews, egg, yoghurt, dried nuts and beans are important sources of fats.

Fortified baby foods contain all the nutrients listed above. They also contain additional micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which though required in small quantities, are essential for a baby’s development.

Complementary foods are a great addition to your child’s diet. Consult your doctor before initiating these, especially since some of them might initiate an allergic reaction.

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