The Benefits of Fruits and Veggies for Growing Kids
By Ryan Devon Via LiveStrong
Fruits and Veggies might be the least favorite foods for kids in America, but they provide so many nutritional benefits for growing kids! Here are a few:
Parents often have to beg, plead and even bribe their children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Health conscious parents recognize the important benefits fruits and vegetables provide to their children. From reducing obesity risk to boosting vitamin and mineral intake, fruits and vegetables are a must on any kid’s dinner plate.
More than 15 percent of children are overweight or obese. Obese children are significantly more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes later in life. Sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits and genetics are contributors to childhood obesity. Providing your children with fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce their risk of obesity. Children who eat fresh fruit are less likely to become obese, according to the Winter 2002 “Food Review.” Fruit and vegetables have fewer calories than commonly consumed foods like soda, chips or candy.
Vitamins and Minerals
Children’s growing bodies require significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Fruits like oranges and apples are rich in immunity-boosting vitamin C. Green vegetables like green beans and broccoli are high in magnesium, which the body needs for muscle function and bone growth. Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in iron, required for healthy blood cells to form. Opt for colorful vegetables like eggplant and oranges, which tend to be more nutrient-rich than pale produce like iceberg lettuce.
The dietary fiber in fruits and veggies promotes the health of children’s intestines. Regular consumption of produce reduces the incidence of irritable bowel syndrome flare-ups, constipation and diarrhea. Eating insoluble fiber-rich produce like carrots and blueberries can reduce risk for diverticulosis, a painful intestinal disease common in children.
Children who regularly consume fruits and vegetables do better in school than children with poor dietary habits, according to a report in the April 2008 “Journal of School Health.” This research study linked the diets of more than 5,000 5th-graders to performance on a standardized test. Children with the highest fruit and vegetable consumption performed best on the test.