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TEENS AND NEEDS: HEALTHY FOOD AND MINERALS

Change! Yes, that is what teenage commands childhood. Starting from food habits, emotions, body, hormones, behaviour, perception, everything just takes a roller coaster ride, with no seat belt! Now, that surely calls for a different kind of ‘treatment’ from the other human lot. With so much on the plate, a teenage needs an understanding friend. Acceptance is the key, both for the child and the parent. Amidst many changes taking over the mind and body, teenagers have different dietary requirements as compared to adults. Intake of vitamins like C, D, B12, and also iron/folic acid, calcium, omega acid, and fibre are essential. Shall we grab them? Let’s go information shopping!

  • Calcium

Our body is composed of calcium than any other mineral. The sad reality is, a large part of the population does not meet the basic requirement. Opt for calcium-rich food like milk, cheese, milk products, green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, broccoli, spinach, watercress, okra), sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, dried figs, flours (e.g. bajra, jowar, nachani), sardines, and yoghurt; that will boost your calcium ratio. Calcium maintains bone strength, keeps the heart healthy, and also improves muscle and nerve function.

Almond is also a rich source of vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. Leafy greens like Kale (belong to the cabbage family), and spinach carry a decent load of both calcium and manganese.

  • Iron

Iron is a crucial mineral required to form hemoglobin in the blood cell. It also supports our immune system, and  helps our brain and muscles to function well. Since our body is not capable of producing iron, we regularly need to consume iron-contained food like ragi, green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, silverbeet, asparagus, etc.)  aleev, dried fruits (e.g. dates, apricots, black raisins, anjeer, prunes), whole grain, iron-fortified cereals, and bread, so that our system does not suffer and end up falling sick frequently.

Millet, which is a great source of iron, can help to get rid of a monotonous taste. Include samai, bajra in your sweets, porridge, dosa, bhakri and upma. You will not only have a fantastic dish but a good dose of iron will definitely boost your body. Fresh pickles, dried fruits, nuts, and beans are other healthy foods that promise an iron-rich diet.

Iron also plays an important role during the menstruation cycle; a proper supplement of iron/folic acid reduces the risk of anaemia (which may occur due to excess blood loss). Peas, lentils, cornmeal, pasta, rice, sprouts, beet, corn, okra are best ingredients for a hefty iron/folic acid substantial meal.

  • Omega acid

Our brain needs food too! You got to invest and help those brain cells to work better, even in stress. Fats are essential for the brain to function. Healthy fats provide the brain with energy and also reduce brain inflammation. Food rich in omega acid is a perfect pick for a ‘brainy meal’.

Roasted soybeans, sprouts, mustard seeds, chia seeds, eggs, fish, flaxseeds, cauliflowers, and nuts like walnut, apricot, and almonds are well-packed with omega acid. One of the great properties of omega acid is that it can combat chronic diseases.

  • Vitamin B12

It is an important water-soluble vitamin, which maintains the red blood cell count in our body and also looks after the functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in poultry, fish, egg, and dairy. Deficiency of vitamin B12 might lead to weakness, breathing issues, fatigue, numbness, and poor memory. This kind of deficiency is common among elderly people; proper care must be taken, an adequate amount of food rich in vitamin B12 must be included in the diet.

  • Vitamin D

One of the best sources of vitamin D is sunlight. Apart from that cheese, egg yolk, orange, dairy products, cereals, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel carry with them a great dose of vitamin D.

In some places sunlight might not be available for a prolonged duration; for better intake, all these food ingredients must be consumed as required by the body.

  •  Micro-nutrients

Micro-nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy skin, muscle, bone growth, immune and blood circulation system. Selenium, copper zinc, manganese, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C, etc are required in small amounts. Even this small quantity matters because they help in the absorption of other nutrients which are vital to the body.

There, we have all the food, ready to get cooked and served; but if a teenager had to decide on the ingredients, the list would not have made so far. It would have been a different story altogether with food loaded with extra fat, oil, and high sugar quantity. Such food lets our taste buds go crazy; isn’t it? But the fact is with time the body gives up on such food choices, consumed on a daily basis, and then the attack from diseases starts! Obesity, heart problems, weight issues, constipation, bloating, tooth decay, and acne are common diseases that an unhealthy diet welcomes. Are you willing to get trapped in such a space, no right? So grab some healthy meals and get ready to gift yourself a healthy lifestyle!

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