Making sure your toddler gets enough of the right kind of nourishment remains top of mind for all parents. Now, more than ever, having a strong immunity system is the main priority, whilst keeping them happy, curious and actively learning!
Proper nutrition is one way to help build strong immune systems and to promote mental development at every stage of a child’s growth. Starting early and putting in place the right foundation at the beginning will ensure improved future growth and development. At the same time, this strong foundation will serve to protect them from seasonal illness and health problems.
So, here are the top 10 things all parents should know to help build strong immune systems and mental development in their growing child!
1. The early years are the most active period for creating neural connections in the brain. In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second1, which is why proper nutrition is one of the key areas during this critical period in supporting their growth and development. It is also during this period that parents start looking for ways to prepare their child for a complex and challenging world.
2. It is best to nourish your child with a wide variety of food and maintain a balanced diet according to the food pyramid. Milk is one of the most important meal requirements for the growing up children as it is nutrient-dense which provides energy as well as high quality protein2. Considering the nutritional value of milk, the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents 2013 recommends that children consume 2 to 3 servings of milk or milk products a day2.
3. Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) is a nutrient rich component naturally present in milk and in our brain. In 2017, MFGM complex hit headlines as the next breakthrough in children nutrition. Studies show that MFGM consumption leads to improved emotional and behavioral regulation in young children. It promotes the production and transmission of neurotransmitters (substances that participate in the creation of brain cell connections)4. By helping brain cells to connect, they regulate mental abilities, emotions and mood5.
4. MFGM complex plays a role in building immunity as well! In one study, consumption of MFGM enriched milk by young children was shown to have protective effects against gastrointestinal infections, producing a significant decrease in the number of short febrile episodes (symptoms of fever)3.
5. Incorporating fatty acids such as DHA, Omega 3’ and 6’ into your child’s diet provides benefits for your child’s mental development as it is shown to be associated with better reading and working memory performance6. DHA is a primary structural component of brain tissue, which plays a role in effective communication between brain cells. It is essential for mental function, including key development areas such as intellectual, motor, emotional/social and communications skills7.
6. DHA and MFGM are abundantly found in the brain and they work synergistically. Scientific studies showed that MFGM & DHA work together to help support mental and emotional development contributing to significantly better behaviour4. Preschool children who consumed enriched MFGM for 4 months were evaluated by their parents and were found to have better behavioural and emotional regulation compared to the controlled group children4.
7. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) plays a starring role in a child’s development too. Emotional well-being and social competence in the early years provide a strong foundation for emerging cognitive abilities and together, they are the building blocks of brain architecture1. Just like IQ (intelligence quotient), social-emotional skills such as communication, problem-solving and collaboration are just as important in adapting well in school and working effectively with others.
8. PDX^ (Polydextrose) and GOS (Galacto-oligosaccharide) are dietary fibres that work together throughout the large intestine to foster the growth of good bacteria and promote digestive health and immune system8. Yeast Beta Glucan is known for its ability to help support the body’s natural defenses9. Research has shown that children consuming milk fortified with DHA, PDX^+GOS and Beta-Glucan have been shown to have fewer episodes of acute respiratory infections (ARI) compared to children consuming unfortified milk. Furthermore, lesser children received antibiotics and recovered faster when they consumed milk fortified with DHA, PDX^+GOS and Beta-Glucan10.
9. While fresh milk is still beneficial, fortified milk contains added essential nutrients such as DHA, MFGM, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Iron and Zinc. It is a great choice in boosting your child’s natural defenses11 and ensuring their daily nutritional requirements are met.
10. Strong immunity and healthy mental development also mean having adequate sleep, active lifestyle and good hygiene.
Enfagrow A+’s unique blend of MFGM complex, highest DHA**, a prebiotic mix of PDX^+GOS and Yeast Beta Glucan. Scientific studies show that MFGM, DHA, PDX^+GOS and Yeast Beta Glucan help support dual function in mental development and immunity resistance towards infections4 The formulation contains 40% higher DHA* that meets FAO/WHO expert recommendation in terms of daily DHA^.
Stronger children lead fuller lives, let’s help build their tomorrow by providing them with optimal nutrition and stimulation for their emotional and mental development #TodayBuildsTomorrow.
**Compared to key growing milk brands in the market as of September 2019, Enfagrow A+ provides 105 mg of DHA in 3 servings a day. * Compared to previous formulation, Enfagrow A+ provides 105 mg of DHA in 3 servings a day ^FAO/WHO recommends daily dietary DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for children 12-24 months or 100-150mg DHA+EPA for children 2 years old & above12 .
This article originally appeared on The Asian Parent
1 Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Brain Architecture. Retrieved from: developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/.
2 National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition. Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents 2013. Retrieved from: nutrition.moh.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/penerbitan/buku/MDG_Child.... Accessed on 14 March 2017.
3 Veereman-Wauters G et al. Milk fat globule membrane (INPULSE) enriched formula milk decreases febrile episodes and may improve behavioral regulation in young children. Nutrition. 2012;28:749-752. Retrieved from: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900711003741?via%3Dihub
4 Küllenberg D et al. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2012; 11(3),1=16 Retrieved from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3316137/
5 Banjari I et al. Brain food: how nutrition alters our mood and behavior. Hrana u zdravlju i bolesti, znanstveno-stručni časopis za nutricionizam i dijetetiku, 2014; 3(1),13-21 Retrieved from: hrcak.srce.hr/file/186517
6Montgomery P et al. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(6): e66697. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066697 Retrieved from: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066697
7 Kuratko CN, Barrett EC, Nelson EB, Salem N Jr. The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients 2013;5:2777-810. Retrieved from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738999/
8 Roytio,H, Ouwehand A.C (2014) The fermentation of polydextrose in the large intestine and its beneficial effects. Wageningen Academic Publishers, 5(3), 305-314. Retrieved from: www.researchgate.net/publication/261742337_The_fermentation_of_polydextrose_in_the_larg e_intestine_and_its_beneficial_effects
9 Volman JJ, Ramakers JD, Plat J. Dietary modulation of immune function by beta-glucans. Physiol Behav. 2008;94:276-84. Retrieved from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18222501
10 Li F, Jin X, Liu B, Zhuang W, Scalabrin D. Follow-up Formula consumption in 3- to 4-Year-Olds and Respiratory Infections: An RCT. Pediatrics 2014;133:e1533-1540. Retrieved from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24843061
11www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/covid19/immunity.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=7d0ad307d6b 53eef8e16b4f95226ddf3dd06ce8c-1588678013-0- AQHxglDBzVXoTpQIWknc3be4KHLRXmTasztodUqYjYHVDh0cZWWO1tfMGveK8abnGH_ZxRGpN Olg6JP1F1bw2J2kykrXa6loOfpFBYDZY1myiig0WmaEHqmQ8KTMdg8pnGEHm4CSLR3h7xqubs2N Aom- 7aTQCjUbgixXkhrh3HFCGyL0oxBdzsbefeszPOfy9Ng_mgxOiuCiIE3d0HMs1YkWxIBmdrmhxVN7UV _DCDgPDpQ0IH4DC_vQ0GFPDiO0viQdIGzkzkBtTBdCku8CH7SHcNd- T9owefUfGOZJ8J5ml2PVegI0Nj2iQIxgqL8tHFKYuhIRL- mYB5Hy_P0JgXTNrM1taVUrmtsvIszQVA5D5T2mulPbxD1CxXfkJHBzjA
12FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91. FAO: Rome.
This article is republished with permission from Enfragrow A+ Malaysia