Appropriate dietary choices and an active lifestyle are two crucial requirements for the proper development of children. However, many young individuals today are receiving the opposite. Kids and teenagers prefer sugary snacks and junk food while leading a sedentary life. Rather than staying active with sports and exercise, they choose to watch television and use the computer for long hours.
You may not notice that your kids have low levels of a certain mineral until it’s too late. Some of these deficiencies can cause serious complications.
Unfortunately, many of these deficiencies are difficult to diagnose without a blood test. This is why it’s better to play safe and not wait for such a test. You can protect your children by learning how to optimize their mineral and overall nutrient levels.
Here are five trace minerals that children are often deficient in:
Kids get sufficient amounts of calcium from the milk they consume during infancy. But their intake decreases when they get older. Milk is replaced by soda, fruit juice, and other sweetened beverages. This leaves kids not only deficient but also exposed to unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners that can affect their growth and development.
The solution is simply to increase your child’s consumption of calcium sources. Avoid pasteurized milk. Instead, give your kids raw, organic dairy products. Other than milk, you can also add more dark green, leafy vegetables to your child’s meals. Not only will they receive adequate calcium, but they will also get benefits from additional nutrients.
Although zinc is one of the most important trace minerals, deficiency in it is very common in infants, children, pregnant and nursing women, and the elderly. Low levels of zinc can occur due to gastrointestinal disorders that inhibit effective absorption. Medications such as ACE inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, and acid-reducing medications may also impact absorption.
A large percentage of the world’s soil is low in zinc content. This means that it is difficult to get enough zinc in your normal diet since it is not as present in food as it once was. Another would be vegetarian/vegan diets and high-grain diets that have low zinc bioavailability and high phytic acid amounts that impair the absorption of minerals.
Although you can give your child a zinc supplement, zinc is best absorbed from food. The best dietary source is oysters. Other choices include grass-fed beef, spinach, sea vegetables, and green peas. While some cereals are loaded with zinc, it is not advisable to feed them to your children because of their synthetic ingredients and the fact that they are loaded with sugar.
Magnesium is an essential trace mineral that is often neglected. It works hand-in-hand with other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of the population are in short supply of magnesium. Mineral-depleted soil, food processing, pharmaceutical drugs, and certain GI disorders can affect magnesium supply in the body.
Fortunately, magnesium is available in a wide variety of foods, such as green leafy vegetables (spinach and Swiss chard), beans, and raw nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds).
Two groups that are often burdened with iron deficiency are children and menstruating women. Potent sources of iron include green, leafy vegetables, beans, and raw nuts and seeds.
However, you can have too much iron. Consuming a number of processed foods fortified with iron, like cereals, can lead to mineral overload, which can lead to complications.
Potassium is easy to get, especially if your child is consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. However, if your child is eating a diet rich in processed foods, it is very likely that your child is deficient in potassium.
It is generally believed that bananas contain the highest amount of the mineral. However, some experts do not recommend them because of their high fructose content.
One viable source of potassium are avocados, which contain higher amounts than bananas. Other choices include Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Winter squash is also a good source, but it should be consumed in moderation because of its high carbohydrate concentration.
Prevent any form of nutrient deficiency from happening in your child’s body. Have him eat the right foods, lead an active lifestyle, and follow smart health choices to achieve the best state of wellness possible.
About the Author
Adrienne Razon is a writer working for Mercola.com. She has written several health guides catering to the needs of both adults and children. Her recent works focus on preventing nutritional problems such as zinc deficiency. She hopes that her articles can help readers plan an effective diet and lifestyle that will promote their optimal health.