At no time is nutrition more important than during childhood. More and more studies show that what a child eats during the early years determines his or her risk of disease later in life. A well-balanced diet is also vital for optimal growth of children. What should children eat and drink during the formative years? A new study points out the importance of drinking milk fortified with micronutrients.
Fortified Milk for the Growth of Children
Researchers did a study where they gave 633 children between the ages of one and four either milk fortified with micronutrients or non-fortified milk to drink three times a day for a year. At the end of the twelve months, researchers made an interesting discovery. They found that the children who drank fortified milk had higher levels of hemoglobin and larger iron stores. They also grew more than kids who drank unfortified milk.
What is Fortified Milk?
Fortified milk is milk that has added vitamins and micronutrients. Fortified milk contains vitamins A, D, and B vitamins, along with iron, zinc – and sometimes selenium and copper. In this study, the fortified milk the children drank contained vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, selenium, zinc, and copper. Milk is not normally a good natural source of these vitamins and minerals, so manufacturers add them.
How Does Fortified Milk Help the Growth of Children?
The researchers in this study emphasized that milk fortified with micronutrients offers a way for kids to get additional zinc and iron that they need for growth. Zinc is an important mineral for growth and a healthy immune system, while iron is critical for forming hemoglobin that red blood cells need to carry oxygen to every cell in the body.
If a child doesn’t get enough iron, he or she will get less oxygen delivered to the brain, which can affect school performance. Non-fortified milk is not a good source of zinc or iron. Vitamin D is also important for a child’s overall health and studies show that most children don’t get enough of it. Drinking milk fortified with vitamin and minerals helps to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Fortified Milk for Growth of Children: The Bottom Line
Fortified milk provides the micronutrients children need for optimal growth. Plus, milk is a good source of calcium for healthy bones. Give your child a healthy start in life and give them fortified milk – but make it organic, whenever possible.
Nutraingredients.com. “Fortified milk linked to healthier child development”