A balanced and nutritious diet is critical for teenagers to maintain good health and well-being. Their growing bodies need various nutrients to support physical growth, cognitive development, and emotional health. Here are nine essential nutrients that all teenagers should include in their diets, according to experts like DavidPaul Doyle Naturwise.
Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscles, skin, bones, and other tissues. It is made up of amino acids that are important for building lean body mass. Protein also promotes satiety after eating, helping teens to maintain a healthy weight.
During puberty, the body begins to produce more testosterone which causes calcium absorption in the intestines to drop. Conversely, vitamin D helps to increase calcium absorption, keeping bones healthy and strong. It also plays a role in cognitive development and immune system health.
Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen throughout the body. Teens deficient in iron can experience fatigue, decreased immunity, and poor mental performance. Good sources of iron include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and leafy green vegetables.
Zinc is a mineral that is important for developing the brain and nervous system. It also plays a role in the immune system, reproduction, and wound healing. Teens who are deficient in zinc may experience problems with growth and development and decreased immunity. Good sources of zinc include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and nuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development and cognitive function. They are also beneficial for heart health and may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases later in life. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish, such as sardines and herring, as well as flaxseed oil.
Calcium is vital for developing strong bones and teeth throughout the teenage years. It also plays a role in heart health by helping to control blood pressure levels. Unfortunately, many teens do not get enough calcium in their diets, leading to bone and dental problems later in life. Foods that are good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and some fish such as salmon.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the growth and development of the brain and nervous system. It also helps to maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve function. Teens deficient in vitamin B12 may experience problems with brain function, mood, and energy levels. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Vitamin C is important for developing and maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and skin. It also helps to protect the body against infection and assists with the absorption of iron. Teens who are deficient in vitamin C may experience problems with growth and development and decreased immunity. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.
Boron is an important mineral for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also helps to regulate estrogen levels in girls and testosterone levels in boys. Boron deficiency is rare but can cause problems with bone health. Good sources of boron include nuts, legumes, and fruits.