Mother: ‘Eat all the food in your plate, it will help you grow!’
Surely most of you have heard this statement from your mother and repeated it to your child? It’s true-proteins are very important for your child’s physical, mental and social growth.
Ensuring your child gets sufficient protein is very important, especially during the years of infancy, childhood and adolescence. Protein is a macronutrient which is essential for complete nutrition. Unlike the other two macronutrients, fats and carbohydrates, our body doesn’t store a lot of protein. That’s why it is important to provide a regular protein supply from different diets. Once inside the body, protein is stored primarily in the muscle and collagen. When protein is digested, it is broken down into amino acids. Protein and its amino acids function as hormones, enzymes and transporters of other nutrients in the body.
If you’re wondering why exactly your child needs proteins, here are some of the benefits that proteins have to offer.
- Proteins will help your child grow as they are the building blocks of life. They help build, maintain and replace tissues in the body. Proteins help develop muscles in children, which in turn help them jump high and run fast. Proteins also help in quick wound healing, and growth of nails and hair.
- Proteins will improve your child’s metabolism by regulating hormones and enzymes in the body and helping your child remain healthy.
- Proteins will improve your child’s immunity by acting as excellent guards who help the immune system by working as antibodies to fight off foreign germs, and keep it safe.
- Proteins are good for your child’s bones as they improve bone mass, and lower the risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
- Proteins can reduce your child’s late-night cravings and indirectly also help your child to keep away from unhealthy junk or processed foods.
- Proteins are an excellent source of calories during children’s growing years, as they provide energy in the absence of carbohydrates.
- Proteins help produce haemoglobin, which is a part of blood that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.