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Importance of right diet and nutrition for teenage girls

Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
20 April 2020

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

While talking about the integral role of nutrition for teens’ growth - both boys and girls - it’s meaningful to take into account the importance of diet and nutrition, especially girls, at this age. As the menstrual cycle is one of the fundamental and natural processes that generously takes place in girls’ bodies. The diet and the menstrual cycle share a complementary relation and whatever the diet is taken during this time does have an impact on the cycle. Let’s talk about the nutrition that helps in the menstrual cycle.

Nutrition for a healthy menstrual cycle:

Iron and folic acid-rich foods: Because haemoglobin is a part of blood and a lot of it is lost during the menstrual cycle, a deficiency of that might also cause symptoms like headache, fatigue and weakness. It is, thus, good to take iron-rich foods like Moringa, green leafy vegetables, cumin seeds, beetroot, garden cress seeds and dates.


unhealthy relatioship

Let’s talk about Moringa with its umpteen benefits during the menstrual cycle. A lot of South Indian homes witness its use it - the drumsticks in Sambar and other vegetable preparations. However, not a lot of them focus on the power of nutrients in the leaves that can help with anaemia, immunity, the health of malnourished teens and young girls - not just in rural areas but in urban cities as well. It is nature's multivitamin. Moringa powder is rich in vitamin A and zinc that encourages hair to grow and keep it in good condition. In addition, moringa powder is rich in B vitamins, C and E, biotin, and inositol that provide nutrients to help improve scalp circulation and maintaining capillaries that carry blood to the follicles

Good fats: Good fats help balance the hormonal ups and downs that place during the menstrual cycle. It also helps increase the satiety factor in meals thereby reducing changes of craving and PMS mood swings that are common during menstrual cycle. Consuming nuts, seeds, coconut oil, ghee will allow their bodies to easily boost calories and feel energetic.

Magnesium: It helps in the relaxing of muscles and muscle contraction. It can calm down the nervous system that eventually reduces anxiety. With less stress, the menstrual cycle becomes positive and healthy for teens. Consuming nuts, seeds, leafy greens and cacao can be of big help.

At the end here are some remedies for a pain-free menstrual cycle:

Cacao tea: Cacao contains a rich amount of magnesium and possibly the best food to consume during menstrual cramps as it helps muscles relax.

Jaggery + sesame: Dealing with lethargy can be quite annoying during the menstrual cycle but to soothe the pain jaggery and sesame can be consumed together either in raw form or with a cup of milk. But remember to take sesame seeds in moderation as they tend to generate a lot of heat in the body.

Ginger, turmeric and tulsi tea: Sipping off a cup of warm ginger/tulsi and turmeric tea can ease the discomfort and pain in the menstrual cycle. Ginger helps to lower the level of prostaglandins that are majorly responsible for triggering muscle cramps during the menstrual cycle.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Your baby’s first solids: How your infant can shift smoothly from breastmilk to other foods

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
09 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Every step of raising an infant is fraught with stress, as parents agonize over whether they are making the right decisions. One of the biggest transitions parents worry over is the shift from breast milk to solid foods.

Fortunately, the process can be easy and comfortably managed if parents follow a few simple strategies.

Infant growth and nutrition

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The first year of a baby’s life is a time of rapid and intense growth. Usually, the baby doubles its birth weight at about six months and triples it at about one year. All of the physiological systems of the infant body undergo rapid growth. The baby’s height also increases by about 10-12 inches in the first year after birth.

Brain development is another crucial area of rapid growth. Infants are born with 100-200 billion neurons or nerve cells, but these are not fully mature. During infancy and toddlerhood, the brain forms thousands of connections between its nerve cells.

Infants also develop several sensory and motor reflexes, as well as motor skills related to crawling, standing and walking.

All of these developments require large amounts of energy, as well as a range of nutrients. While breast milk forms a necessary part of the infant diet, therefore, it is not sufficient by itself.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods

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Shifting to solid foods is a gradual and progressive process that can be carried out in a series of well-planned steps. The first food infants can be introduced to are grains in the form of porridge, since they provide energy in the form of carbohydrates to fuel the infant’s growth. In south India, ragi is often preferred because it is a rich source of calcium, iron and protein, besides providing carbohydrates. These grains have to be dehusked by soaking, grinding and straining to make them easy to digest.

Next, infants can be introduced to a new vegetable every week. Parents can begin with carrots and watery vegetables, followed by beans, and finally leading up to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. With fruits, parents can start with stewed apple, followed by mashed ripe bananas, and then other soft fruits. Harder fruits should be blended before being fed to infants.

With proteins, green gram dal is the best to start with, while some proteins like chana dal should preferably be given only after one year. Non-vegetarian proteins like egg, fish and chicken can also be started after the first year.

If breastfeeding is stopped after the first year for any reason, cow’s milk or curd can be given. Once the child reaches the age of one, he or she can eat most of the foods that the rest of the family eats, provided nothing is too oily or spicy.

In terms of preparation, parents should start with pureed or mashed foods, followed by food cut into very tiny pieces. Eventually, they can move to finger foods and then hard foods such as small apple pieces or boiled beans.

Feeding fussy children

For many parents, children growing fussy about eating is a major cause for concern. However, many children become fussy when parents focus too much attention on the feeding process in some way. When children start sitting up, they should be encouraged to pick up pieces of their food and eat it themselves. They should also be encouraged to sit and eat with the rest of the family from the first year onwards. If they learn from other members of the family to eat different varieties of foods, they are likely to develop healthy eating habits. On the other hand, if parents try to only feed children particular foods that they initially develop a liking for, they are more likely to grow fussy.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods can seem a complex and difficult task for many parents. However, there are a few simple strategies that parents can follow to simply things for themselves and their babies. Done right, introducing children to solid foods can be a joyous experience of discovery for parent and child.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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