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Why Is the Consumption of Fruits Essential for Children?

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Why Is the Consumption of Fruits Essential for Children?

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Fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet for all age groups. Read the article below to know why they are important for kids.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At December 20, 2018
Reviewed AtApril 4, 2024

Introduction:

Nature has bestowed us with fruits in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Fruits are usually liked by all and are beneficial for people of all ages, particularly children, due to their healthy contents. Children are among the most sensitive groups that contract infection or disease. Therefore, they need a good amount of nutrients and antioxidants to boost their immunity and fight against diseases. Fruits provide many such antioxidants and nutrients.

Why Are Fruits Important for Children?

Fruits are essential for consumption in children because of the following reasons:

  • Rich In Nutrients: Fruits hold abundant vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients that aid in providing good health and protection against chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancers, etc. Fruits come in a great variety of colors, and different colored fruits have specific nutrients; hence, they have distinct health benefits. It is imperative that children consume diverse fruits of discrete colors each day to gain their individual profits. Some common yet healthy examples of fruits are as follows:

  • Red-Colored Fruits: Strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, cherries, apples, etc.

  • Orange-Colored Fruits: Oranges, mangoes, peaches, apricots, etc.

  • Yellow-Colored Fruits: Pineapple, banana, lemon, etc.

  • Green-Colored Fruits: Kiwi, green apple, grapes, etc.

  • Blue-Black Colored Fruits: Blueberries, plums, black grapes, blackberries, etc.

  • Prevents Excessive Weight Gain: Fruits contain a simple sugar called fructose which is healthy in nature. They also provide low yet instant energy in comparison to other foods as they are digested and absorbed quickly. Therefore, opting for them over complex carbohydrates can help in arresting abnormal weight gain.

  • Packed With Fiber: Fruits are a rich source of fiber and hold abundant moisture, which helps prevent various problems like constipation that children face often. In addition, they also prevent childhood obesity, as when children consume fruits that are loaded with fiber, it gives them a sense of fullness and prevents them from overeating. Hence, encourage them to consume various fruits, mainly seasonal fruits, which provide numerable benefits to kids.

  • Prevents Heart Disease: Soluble fiber present in fruits like apple, pear, and guava helps eradicate harmful cholesterol in the arteries, thus preventing serious heart diseases like atherosclerosis and various kinds of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, children should be encouraged to consume a variety of fruits.

  • Prevents Cancer: Consuming two to three fruits daily protects the child from various kinds of cancers like cancer of the mouth, stomach, and the esophagus; as it helps to reduce the reactive oxidative stress in their body. They can be consumed in the whole form, or else you can also give them to the child by cutting and dipping them in curd, which is also a good source of probiotics that will keep your child's gut healthy and free from contracting any kind of illness or infections.

  • Loaded With Moisture: Children these days often suffer from symptoms like dehydration due to inadequate water consumption and exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays while playing outdoor games. Thus, it becomes imperative to give your child fruits loaded with moisture to prevent issues like dehydration.

  • Prevents Constipation: Is your kid suffering from constipation frequently? One of the reasons your child is suffering from constipation is due to a lack of fiber in the diet as in the case of consuming junk foods from outside like burgers and pizzas and also aerated drinks, which are high in fats and sugars, but low in fiber causes issues like constipation in children. Hence, give your child various fruits every day to get rid of constipation. Your child may also get constipated when highly stressed due to a new place or a shift to a new school. Therefore, teach your child to be calm by practicing ten minutes of meditation just before sleeping at night.

Are Whole Fruits and Fruit Juices Equally Healthy?

Whole fruits are more healthy and nutritious than fruit juices; that is why they are preferred more. On the other hand, fruit juices carry minimal fiber and more sugar and are higher in energy. They can even affect teeth when taken regularly. Fruit juices do contribute to the daily portion of fruits in the diet, yet whole fruits are more filling and are a healthier option.

What Are the Recommended Portions of Fruits In the Children’s Diet?

The recommendations of fruit served in the children’s diet differ based on their physical activities, age, gender, and status of their health.

recommended portion of fruits

What Are the Things to Consider While Eating Fruits?

There are certain things that should be considered while consuming fruits. If fresh fruits are not available, then frozen, canned, or dried varieties of fruits can be bought. However, fruits in dried form are sticky in nature and can adhere to the teeth. They lead to increased chances of tooth decay so should be consumed rarely and in small quantities. While buying canned fruits, the products canned in more than or equal to 99 % fruit juice and without added sugars are preferred. Canned fruits immersed in syrup should be avoided. While choosing dried fruits, the ingredients list should be checked first, and products without added sugar should be selected.

What Is the Common Myth About Eating Fruits?

The most common myth about fruit consumption is regarding their intake quantity due to their sugar content. The sugar present in fruits occurs naturally, so their intake need not be restricted as it is a healthy sugar. Furthermore, fruit contains many important nutrients that provide nutrition as well as boost immunity.

Food products with added sugar, such as fruit drinks, are easily available in the market, yet, they are poor in nutrients and provide a lot of energy. Increased consumption of such foods and drinks causes obesity, and other critical health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Conclusion:

Fruit consumption is important for the healthy growth and development of children. They should be included in the diet regularly in the proper ratio, and their serving should be fulfilled most healthily.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Why Is It Important to Eat Fruits?

Consuming fruits is beneficial to one’s health. They provide the necessary nutrients, such as vitamins (including vitamins A, E, and C), and minerals, such as potassium and fiber. These are essential to improve one’s immunity and the body's defense mechanism. Regular fruit consumption helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

2.

Why Is It Important for Children to Consume Fruit and Vegetables?

Vegetables and fruits are great sources of nutrients, including a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables are packed with energy with fewer calories and are immune boosting. Consuming fruits and vegetables regularly lowers blood pressure, reduces stroke and heart disease risks, helps with digestion, and positively affects blood glucose levels. It also reduces the risk of serious illnesses such as cancer.

3.

How Can We Encourage Children to Have Healthy Eating Habits?

Having a healthy diet is essential for children and adults. A few simple tips to ensure that children eat healthily include:
- Never let children skip breakfast. 
- Plan healthy meals with the child.
- Include the recommended seven fruits and vegetables in the child's diet.
- Avoid canned or frozen food and soft drinks.
- Ensure healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, fruit slices, and yogurt

4.

Can Children Eat Too Much Fruit?

Yes, it is possible that children eat too much fruit and fill up on fruits, as they are rich in fiber. As a result, they might miss the intake of other essential food such as grains, pulses, and meat. Fruits also can lead to bloating and gas (as they have high fructose content). Consuming fruit as a part of a meal or snack is essential. However, children should be encouraged to eat a balanced, wholesome diet, including all other food groups, such as carbohydrates and proteins.

5.

How Much Fruit Should Kids Eat in a Day?

The quantity of fruits that kids can consume a day depends on the child’s age. Kids below three years must eat one cup of fruit. Above four years, children should consume at least one and a half cups of fruits daily. It is also recommended that a variety of fruits are included in the child’s diet to ensure that they get all the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

6.

How Does Fruit Consumption Prevent Diseases?

Fruits are nutrient-dense. They provide high nutrients with lesser calories. Fruits contain less fat and sodium and are high in potassium and fiber, which are essential for healthy digestion. The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in fruits are necessary for healthy living. Consuming fruits daily reduces the risk of serious illnesses such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

7.

What Is the Right Way to Consume Fruits?

The right way to consume fruits includes:
- Eating a variety of fruits instead of a single fruit.
- Avoid removing the skin of the fruit.
- Chew the fruits. Avoid juicing them, as it removes the fiber.
- Always include other protein sources with the fruits to ensure wholesome nutrition intake.

8.

What Factors Affect the Amount of Fruit a Person Needs?

A person's choice of eating fruits depends on their taste preferences, cost, and the need for fruit consumption. If a person has brittle hair and nails, bleeding gums, vision problems, constipation, or is feeling low in general, these indicate possible nutritional deficiencies, and such individuals should increase their fruits and vegetable intake. A well-balanced diet is essential for healthy living.

9.

Which Fruit Should One Eat Every Day?

There are no specific fruits that one must eat every day. Consuming seasonal and fresh fruits are always better. A person can include a wide variety of fruits, including apples, berries, bananas, oranges, and avocados. The key is to eat them whole, with skin on (whenever possible), as it ensures all the nutrients are consumed, including the fibers that ensure healthy digestion.

10.

Which Fruits Should Not Be Consumed Together?

Most people have the habit of having a mix of fruits in a bowl. However, one must be careful about the type of fruits that they consume together. For instance, one should not mix acidic fruits such as guavas, strawberries, and grapefruits with sweet fruits such as bananas and peaches. A wrong mix can make the person nauseous and can cause headaches. Also, fruits should not be consumed together with vegetables, as the high sugary fruits can hinder the digestion of vegetables.

11.

Which Fruit Is Best for an Empty Stomach in the Morning?

Certain fruits are rich in antioxidants and fiber and are low in calories. Consuming these first thing in the morning can give a healthy start to the day and helps with digestion issues as well. The fruits that are good to consume on an empty stomach include:
- Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. 
- Watermelon.
- Papaya.
- Kiwi.
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Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina

Dietician

Tags:

heart healthbenefits of fruits
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