Childhood is the foundation for the rest of our lives. The way we care for children, mould them, respond to them, and provide for them is reflected in every aspect of their growth stage and adulthood. Among the many factors that need to be taken care of, food is a vital consideration. Nutrition is a significant factor right from before a child is born and it becomes even more crucial during the growth years making it imperative that each child receives nutrition-rich meals. Heeding to this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has initiated ‘Feed the Future Now’ campaign to feed the future i.e. children with nutritious meals that will support their healthy growth while also giving them an opportunity to receive an education. Balanced diet A balanced diet comprises the right amount of essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, vitamins and minerals. Of these, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are categorised as macronutrients and form the larger part of a meal whereas vitamins and minerals are categorised as micronutrients and are required to be consumed in smaller quantities. However, we cannot neglect micronutrients from our regular meals because they play a very important role in the overall development of children. Significance of vitamins and minerals While we need to consume only small amounts of vitamins and minerals, these micronutrients are vital for regulation of metabolism, bone density, and overall physical well-being. Lack of these essential nutrients can lead to a situation called the ‘hidden hunger’. It is observed that meals of people, especially from socio-economically challenged backgrounds, constitute of rice, corn, or wheat flour – foods that are rich in macronutrients. Undoubtedly, this food satisfies their hunger, but lack in vitamins and minerals. When such diet is consumed on a regular basis, it eventually leads to nutritional deficiency resulting in ill health, impaired physical and cognitive development, and early deaths. Thus, for healthy growth of children, it is important that their diet has the essential vitamins and minerals. Impact of vitamins and minerals Vitamins and minerals are found in fruits, vegetables, pulses, and dairy and farm products. Among all the different types of vitamins and minerals, here is a mention of the critical ones and their impact: Vitamin A – It builds immunity, good eyesight, and healthy skin. It is essential for bone and tissue repair and normal growth and development. Vitamin B – This supports healthy metabolism, aids in healthy circulatory, digestive, and nervous system, and provides energy to the body. Vitamin C – It is essential for healthy teeth and gums, bones, cartilage, and skin. It aids in developing immunity and helps in faster healing of wounds. Vitamin D – It works with calcium and phosphorous to promote healthy and strong teeth and bone formation. Deficiency of Vitamin D increases the risk of fractures in children. Calcium – It is an essential source for developing strong bones and teeth. It helps to maintain a healthy nervous system and muscular functioning. Iron – It is an essential component to maintain healthy functioning of red blood cells and preventing anaemia. It is also an important source for healthy muscle development. Iodine – It is vital for normal thyroid functioning while also aiding normal growth and functioning of the brain. Feed the Future Now Only a healthy body can support the mind to aspire and achieve. The ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative is an attempt by Akshaya Patra to ensure every child receives nutrition-rich food; to ensure that while nourishing the body, the mind is nurtured too; to ensure that the whole society comes together in support of wholesome food for children. As a support to Right to Food and feed the future i.e. the children with nutritious food, this initiative has already been endorsed by nine reputed corporates namely GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels, along with open support from renowned celebrities namely Shankar Mahadevan, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjeev Kapoor, and Sonali Bendre. You can be the nutrition-provider too Being aware will not change the course of things. But, acting upon it will definitely bring about the desired change. Thus, it is the need of the hour that we come together as a force to provide nutrition-rich food to the young generation. We may not be able to feed millions of children, but we can always provide a wholesome meal to at least one child. And, if Rs. 950 can provide a child nutritious meals for an entire year, then it’s definitely worth making the donation. Feed the children today!
Vitamins And Minerals Are Essential in a Diet
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