Medical & Health › Diet & Nutrition › NUTRITION FOR ADOLESCENTS

Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. There are many physical, mental and emotional changes that occur at this age. These changes are very rapid and occur due to the hormonal changes in the body. The important physical changes that occur in the body are the development of the brain, bone growth and mineralization, weight changes, maturation of the cardiovascular system and lungs, and an increase in endurance and strength (more pronounced in boys). For this diet and that too a balanced diet plays an important role. But the question arises what type of balanced diet should be taken by a teenager? Dr Shikha Sharma Nutri-Health Systems, Nutrition, weight, cholesterol, diabetes, health, balanced diet, diet, weight gain, weight excess, weight loss,
It is the age at which a teenager can include each color of spectrum in his diet. Basically the future health of a person depends on the diet at adolescence. Therefore a healthy and well-balanced diet is very important at this age. This diet is not only important for healthy body but it is also important for the development of the brain. The diet which is important for overall development is the spectrum diet. What is that? Let’s discuss:
The spectrum diet is that colorful diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses and other nutritious food which help in over all development. The spectrum contains violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and green color. So the foods which a teenager should include in the diet are-
Violet/ Indigo/Purple /Blue- Blueberries or blackberries both provide not only nutrition but beneficial antioxidants as well. These antioxidants are known to be a protective agent against several different diseases like heart disease, cancer and even eye diseases. Eggplant, fig, turnip, onion and grapes all are good, colorful foods to try. Figs are excellent sources of fiber and potassium. These foods contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. These nutrients support retinal health, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation.
Green- Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity. These include all green leafy vegetables, beans, broccoli, cucumber, green apple, grapes, green pepper, kiwi, peas, watercress, moong dal, and moth.
Yellow and orange- These foods contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macular degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones. Yellow colored foods includes lemon, mangoes, papaya, banana, carrot, arhar dal, chana dal, corn, oranges, peaches, pumpkin, yellow pepper.
Red- Red colored foods contains nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, to name a few. These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, harmful free-radicals, and support joint tissue in arthritis cases. These include beet, cherries, pomegranate, radishes, carrot, apple, amaranth, onion, tomato and pink masoor dal.
After knowing the ingredienst of teenage diet, it is important to know how much quantity or in which manner it should be taken. For this we divide the whole meal pattern in five parts, in which two big meals, which include morning breakfast and lunch. One medium meal i.e. dinner and two mini meals i.e. mid morning and evening tea. The diet should be well balanced means that it contains a proper quantity of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. The diet should contains three serving of fruits, two glasses of milk, one serving of green leafy vegetable, two serving of dal and two serving of any other vegetable in a whole day.
Tips during Exams
Iron and B vitamins are especially important to maintain the physical and mental energy necessary to study well. Therefore include cereals, spinach, kidney beans, whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts in your diet.
•     Avoid processed and junk foods.
•     Fish and soy are other foods that are said to help boost your brain by providing the nutrients it needs.
•     Dietary supplements are good, but real food is better.
•     Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable.
•     Not all vegetables are created equal. The darker the color, the higher the concentration of nutrients.
•     While you have non-veg products, avoid foods that build up body fats.
•     Vitamins are essential for memory and keep you relaxed.
•     Keep tea and coffee to minimum-1 or 2 cups a day.
•     Small meals at regular intervals are not a bad idea.
•     Fruits maintain the sugar levels needed by a body through their natural sugar content.
•     Water, juices and soups at regular intervals during the day are good.
•     Take a small walk around your house or compound, to help your body digest food properly and fast.
•     Do not sit down to study immediately after eating as it might make you sleepy and sluggish.
•     If you are a heavy eater, make sure you exercise daily and then sit to study, in order to refrain from putting on excess weight, and to remain awake during study.

Tips for Teenagers involved in Sports
Adequate and appropriate nutrition is important for the health and performance of young athletes. Exercise involves the repeated breaking down of tissue and then rebuilding it "better" than it had been previously. Eating the right amount of the right food is imperative to this rebuilding process.
•     Avoid FAD diets.
•     Avoid processed or enriched foods
•     Eat foods of a variety of colors each day. The different colors of foods indicate they contain different nutrients.
•     A well balanced diet for young athletes should primarily be carbohydrates for energy.
•     Choose nutrient dense carbohydrates such as whole grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables and avoid energy dense carbohydrates such as candy, cookies and foods with added sugar, fructose, etc.
•     Include a moderate amount of proteins as children and athletes need a greater amount of proteins than adults and non-athletes to assist in the rebuilding of tissue.
•     Food preparation is important to maintain nutrients so you should minimize the amount of fried foods in your diet. Steam food rather than boil it.
•     Pre-game meals should be eaten 3 - 4 hours before the start of competition.
•     Avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages that will cause dehydration.
•     Also avoid sugary foods that will cause a spike and then a decrease of blood sugar.

Article By: Dr Shikha Sharma


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