New Delhi: Food is the most important requirement of our body after water. Mothers ensure that the meals cooked at home are the right combination of nutrition for everyday endurance and health requisites of their children.
However, there is lesser emphasis on the importance of micro-nutrients in a meal.
A lack of micro-nutrients can lead to hidden hunger, causing severe underlying deficiencies that can hamper the overall growth and development of children.
According to the health experts, hidden hunger is a micro-nutrient deficiency that occurs when the food consumed lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals for active growth and development. It starts setting in as early as three years of age.
Hence, it is more prevalent amongst children, mainly due to fussy eating habits, and consuming junk food, leading to an imbalanced nutritive intake of food.
"Over sixty per cent of children under five years of age in urban India are found to be anemic. The figure is even higher in rural areas, as per the fourth NHFG (National Family Health Survey) study," said Dr. Prathibha Babshet, MD - Ayurveda, R and D, The Himalaya Drug Company.
"Corroborating this, a recent study undertaken by UNICEF reveals that more than 80 percent of children in India between 10 to 19 years of age are found to be affected by hidden hunger, making them susceptible to , anemia, diabetes, and even heart-related disorders in the long run," Babshet added.
To tackle hidden hunger in children, Dr. Babshet advised key nutrients that can help: Protein in the form of pulses, milk, cheese, nuts, eggs, fish and meat.
A balanced diet is important for growth of children, but, incorporating nutrition supplements in the diet is of equal importance.
The primary aspects to remember while choosing a formula is that it should be scientifically researched and enriched with key nutrients and traditional ingredients that contribute to three key functions required for overall development: active growth, strong immunity amd smart memory .
Milk proteins and Ginger play an important role in optimum growth. Nutritional supplement which is enriched with calcium and Vitamin B-complex, helps support bone health, and Ginger helps improve digestion, according to the experts.
Vitamin A, C, and E help improve immune functions. Tulasi supports helps improve respiratory wellness.
According to doctors, essential vitamins and minerals like Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Iron, and Iodine support the nervous system. Almonds and Mandukaparni help improve memory.