There is so much information about nutrition and what you should be giving your child, which can be overwhelming. Antioxidants and what they are all about can often be confusing to understand, but understanding about them is undoubtedly a great idea, as they are essential for growing kids.
If food high in antioxidants is included in a child’s diet from the very beginning, there is a whole lot of benefits that can be reaped from the early days.
Antioxidants - what are they?
Natural internal processes in our bodies produce free radicals, which are substances that attack healthy tissues and even destroy them. Inflammation often comes with these substances, and excessive amounts of them have been associated with chronic illnesses (heart disease, cancer, etc.).
Antioxidants are mighty substances which destroy these harmful free radicals protecting our body’s healthy cells from being damaged. Many plant-based foods contain antioxidants. Some of the most significant sources come from
vegetables and fruits, legumes and whole grains. The following vitamins are considered to be antioxidants - A, C, E as well as selenium mineral.
Food high in antioxidants:
● Berries of various varieties: Choose any from strawberries, blueberries to cherries and anything in between! The darker the colour, the more flavour they offer and are more appealing to kids.
● Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard or arugula are all rich in antioxidants.
● Tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, have a red flavonoid called lycopene and boost with antioxidants. Fun fact - cooked tomatoes are better for you, as they have more lycopene than raw ones.
● Raisins or grapes. They deliver high levels of antioxidants, so perfect for replacing lollies with. Mums will be excited to know that wine isn’t just good for the soul, but delivers much-needed antioxidants!
● Whole Grains. Products like oats, brown rice, barley and sorghum don’t just offer fibre, but antioxidants! Including these whole grains regularly in your diet has been linked to preventing of some chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Unfortunately, an occasional fruit or a carrot stick won't provide the right level of antioxidants for your child, so a diet including a much more regular consumption of fruit and veg will provide your child with proper levels of antioxidants.
If your child is a picky eater, there are many ways of including antioxidants in their diet without them even realising it. Either make a smoothie including some of the foods from the above list or add Childlife Essentials Liquid Vitamin C to your child’s favourite drink or porridge in the morning.
Giving Vitamin C to your child every morning can kick-start their day with the right level of nutrients and antioxidants.