List of Some Important Nutrients For A Child’s Development

Childhood is that stage of human life which is associated with growth and development. Childhood is characterized by a rapid growth and nutrition play a vital role in ensuring proper growth and development. The adequate nutrient is essential for the growth, health, and development of a child. It is important because of its way in which it affects development.

Multiple studies have stated that nutrition can change the way in which a certain genetic factor is expressed by providing the gene with the molecules or nutrients that are important to express the full potential for development. In other words, nutrition has the power to control the way in which the body develops.

Nutrition is particularly important during early childhood. It has a significant impact on children. This is because, the body goes through a major growth spurt during this period and as a result, it demands nutrients. Without a necessary intake of nutrients, the body will be stunted in the growth and it may lead to serious impairments.

Some of the important nutrients for a child’s development are as follows:

1. Proteins

Proteins are considered to be essential for human cells. Studies found out that proteins serve as the base for all living tissues and it makes up a person’s skin, muscle, fingernails, and hair. Protein is also important for the development of the brain, It provides a brain with an energy which helps it to grow and develop.

The main source of protein is our diet and we eat proteins from plants and animals. Foods that contain protein can be divided into three categories – high protein food, medium protein food, and low protein food. High protein food includes items like fish, egg, poultry, nuts, and cheese. Medium protein food items include rice, meat, and oats. Low protein food includes fruits and juices.

2. Fats

Omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids are considered to be the essential fats for the human body. These fats play an important role in the growth and development of infant and young children. Most often, children are at high risk of low intake of omega 3 fatty acid as most complementary foods are low in it. Therefore, ensuring an adequate intake of these fatty acids is very important.

The brain is primarily composed of fatty tissues. An adequate amount of lipids within the brain allows the rapid transfer of impulses and data, as a result, it allows humans to process rapid thoughts and actions. Some of the rich sources of essential fats include walnuts, egg, spinach, and soybean.

3. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are considered to be one of the most important sources of energy for the body. I the early years of life when rapid growth and development takes place, carbohydrates play an important role. Carbohydrates are known to be the main source of energy for the infants and young children. Although high carbohydrate foods are the unhealthy but adequate amount of carbohydrate is important for the normal growth and development of a child. Some of the rich sources of carbohydrates include dairy products, fruit, grains, and beans.

Also Read: 5 Healthy Habits To Live Healthy Life

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is regarded as one of the most important vitamins for the development and maintenance of the body. Vitamin A does not have any single purpose, but it has multiple purposes in the human body. Vitamin A is best known to play a role in providing good vision.  There are small rods and cones inside the retina of the eye which light bounces off when it enters the eye. The reflection of light breaks these rods and cones down and vitamin A is extremely important as it helps them to regenerate.

Also, vitamin A is important to boost the immune system. The immune system in children are weak and they require vitamin A to boost their defense system. Children are more prone to suffer from diseases like cold and this is due to their weak immune system.

5. Vitamin D

Many of us believe that the role of vitamin D in the human body is limited to bone mineralization, but this is not true. Vitamin D is believed to have an effect on body’s various systems such as endocrine system, immune system, cardiovascular system, neuropsychological functioning, neuromuscular performance. It is also believed to act as potent antioxidant protection against free radical damage.

In children, the adequate amount of vitamin D is important to maintain the overall growth and development of the body. This vitamin is immensely important to keep the bones strong and when a child lacks vitamin D, it leads to the development of disease known as rickets. Rickets is a bone disorder in which the bones become very weak and more likely to suffer from a fracture. Exposure to sunlight is one of the sources of vitamin D. Some of the rich food sources of vitamin D include cheese, egg yolk, beef liver, and soy milk.

6. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient which is required for the normal metabolic functioning in the body. Vitamin C boosts the body’s ability to fight infections before they become serious. There is no denying in saying that children are at high risk of suffering from illnesses and when there is an adequate intake of vitamin C in the body, a child is less likely to suffer from infections and other diseases. Also, the beneficial effect of vitamin C on the immune system makes it a very important nutrient. Some of the rich sources of vitamin C include broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and winter squash.


Tags:  Child nutrition chart, Child nutrition guidelines, Nutrition and child development

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.