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The role of Nutrition during Growth Spurts

15 July 2020

Do you remember thinking to yourself that your child seems to have grown rapidly? Or, that they seem to have outgrown their most recent pair of shoes and clothes?

This marked increase in height and weight in a short span of time is known as a growth spurt. A noticeable growth spurt (2nd growth spurts) happens during adolescence when a rapid increase in height and weight is seen.

The growth spurts in adolescence is usually accompanied by an increase in appetite. But, the lack of proper nutrition during this growth phase can prevent overall growth and development

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet assures an adequate amount of key nutrients such as Proteins, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamins A, C, B Complex etc. A diet that is limited in variety and is nutrient deficient can make your child feel tired easily, impact their growth and development, and can weaken their immune system, making them more prone to infections. Preparing foods that are energy and nutrients dense, rich in protein, calcium, iron, zinc and other vitamins and minerals, will help boost their height and growth.

Here are some essential nutrients that facilitate growth during this period of growth spurt:

Protein: Protein contains the building blocks for all muscle, organs, bones and other tissues that grow and develop during the growth spurt. Foods that contribute to protein in the diet include milk and milk products like Curd, paneer; meat, fish, egg, pulses and legume, nuts and oilseeds.

Calcium and Vitamin D: Calcium and Vitamin D are very important for bones and are both bone-forming nutrients. The growth of the bones, particularly the long bones in the legs and arms, show up in your child’s height. Foods like Dairy products (milk, Curd, Paneer etc.), Ragi, Bengal gram (chana), til seeds, soybean, certain fishes like katla, rohu etc are sources of Calcium in the diet. Sun exposure helps the body to produce Vitamin D. Foods like fishes (Salmon, Tuna, mackerel), Egg yolk, fortified foods like milk and milk products etc. contribute to Vitamin D in the diet.

Healthy Fats: Fats are an important part of the diet. Include foods rich in good quality omega 3 fats in your child’s diet, that help support brain development and function. Sources of Omega 3 include cold-water fishes (salmon, tuna), Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds), plant oils like flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil.

Iron: Iron is important during the growth spurt as it plays a key role in immunity, haemoglobin formation, nerve, and brain function. It is crucial to include Iron-rich foods in your child’s diet. Food sources of Iron include: meat, seafood, black raisins, Green leafy vegetables like amaranth, radish leaves, colocasia leaves (arbi leaves), til seeds, garden cress seeds (Halim seeds) etc., Vitamin C is known to help in Iron absorption from plant foods thus, Include Vitamin C rich foods like orange, raw mango, amla, guava etc. in your child’s diet.

Children tend to be fussy eaters, and may only choose to eat what they like. But, finding ways around their eating habits becomes extremely important during growth spurts.

Getting them to eat wholesome meals on a daily basis becomes easier with Complan which is fortified vitamins, minerals and contains 100% first-class protein to aid their growth and development.

For more information related to food and nutrition, click here

Growth is influenced by genetics, nutrition and other environmental factors. Please consult your healthcare professional further.
The information provided in this article is based on the writers personal experience and view. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition source and benefits on this website should be consulted with your paediatric/ health professional. The information you receive in our blogs, and other communication do not take the place of professional medical advice. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition or diet on this website should be consulted with your healthcare professional

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