What are the nutrition requirements in food for different age groups?
Certain nutritional principles are applicable throughout our lifetime. For example, doing portion control, having small meals throughout the day, and staying hydrated. However, nutritional requirements also change as per different age groups. Here we discuss the vital foods for different phases of life. • Infants: Doctors recommend mother's milk as the best food for a newborn up to six months of age. It is enriched with proteins, good fats, and carbohydrates in ideal proportions. At the same time, it builds immunity against various diseases in newborn kids. Colostrum, a yellowish fluid produced by the mother in the early days of breastfeeding is very good for the baby. • Babies up to 2 Years Old: Solid foods are recommended at this age once the doctor permits. Rice cereal with milk is initially advised. Secondly, fruits and vegetables are suggested. Since babies and toddlers grow quickly, they require fats, iron, proteins and carbohydrates to fuel them. Their need for extra sugar, salt and artificial sweeteners is also less. Full-fat dairy products are a must to provide good fat to the developing brains of babies. • Children: Low-fat dairy products can be had once children cross the age of two. As their physical activity increases, they need more calories for growth. Proteins help to build muscle mass. At the same time, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are necessary as they contain essential nutrients. Make your child avoid added salt and sugar from the beginning for good health that he/she will achieve for lifetime. • Young Adults: New bones and muscles are still being formed in young individuals. Intake of nutritious foods containing iron, protein, calcium, etc. is therefore crucial. Our eating habits as a young adult impact our energy levels, appearance and overall health. Youngsters should focus on including more and more nutrient-dense items like fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins in the diet. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt contain plenty of calcium and vitamin D that are vital for bone health. • Older Adults: Slowdown of metabolism and loss of muscle mass begins at this age. Low physical activity means you need lesser quantity of food. However, whatever is consumed should be highly nutritious. Leafy greens and low-fat dairy products are rich in calcium that strengthen the bones. The skin also fails to maintain moisture balance. Protein (eggs, milk, fish, etc.) helps to check the loss of muscle mass. Vitamin B12 (fish, meat, dairy products, etc.) contributes to the health of the nervous system. Prone to a sedentary lifestyle and constipation, the elderly should also consume copious amounts of fiber-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables help to promote bowel regularity. Water too will help in bowel functions while retaining the skin moisture. At this age, it is also important to prevent high blood pressure or sugar problems. So, avoid salty, sugary, fatty and processed foods.
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