Scoffing “superfoods”, so named for the powerful nutritional punch they pack, will strengthen junior’s immune system. Low in calories, yet dense in essential nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals vital for growth, eating these goodies not only reduce his risk of chronic disease, the health benefits will also hold your little one in good stead, well into adulthood.
So, here goes…
Red and purple fruit and veg
These are loaded with powerful antioxidants — such as lycopene and anthocyanins — that do everything from fighting heart disease and cancer. Remember — the darker it is, the more antioxidants the fruit or veg has.
Beetroot An excellent source of folic acid and fibre, beetroot is full of nitrates, which expand blood vessels to enable more oxygen and nutrients to flow to the brain.
Chard This leafy veg is chockfull of vitamins (A, B-complex, C and K) and a good source of iron, potassium and magnesium. Its antioxidants help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Purple carrots The purple hue offers lots of health benefits — it improves memory, enhances vision, protects the heart and even helps control weight.
Eggplant The skin of the eggplant or brinjal provides essential nutrients to boost blood circulation and nourish the brain. This zero-fat, high-fibre veg is rich in antioxidants that protect brain cell membranes.
Blueberries Besides antioxidants, blueberries contain flavonoids, which ramp up the brain’s ability to absorb new information.
Cherries Tart cherries contain melatonin — a chemical that helps us sleep. The distinctive deep-red pigment helps regulate the metabolism and reduce the risks of high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Cherries also help lower belly fat and are heart-healthy, thanks to its high potassium content.
Orange and yellow fruit and veg
These are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient that not only improves night vision, it also helps keep your skin, teeth and bones healthy.
Banana The potassium-rich fruit releases energy slowly to help the brain stay alert throughout the day. It’s also a good source of fibre, vitamin B6, plus tryptophan — an enzyme that promotes “happy” feelings.
Zucchini The golden zucchini retains its colour even after cooking and is a really low-calorie veggie. Free from saturated fats and cholesterol, it’s packed with dietary fibre and potassium, a heart-friendly electrolyte that prevents constipation.
Corn Corn’s high fibre content prevents constipation, haemorrhoids and colorectal cancer. Its kernels contain carotenoids, which reduce the risk of vision degeneration. Yellow corn is also a rich source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), which is vital for healthy skin, while lycopene is an antioxidant that prevents UV rays from damaging the skin, even as it increases collagen production.
Bell peppers This low-cal goodie, an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fibre, is an ideal food for kids because of its slightly fruity taste.
Grapefruit Apart from its rich vitamin C content, the fruit is packed with calcium, folate, phosphorus and potassium. It also halts the spread of breast cancer cells. This immunity boosting fruit also fights common colds and fever, reduces water retention, and protects against stomach and pancreatic cancer.
Tomatoes These help fight free radical damage that can cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They also contain high amounts of potassium, fibre and vitamin C.
Greens are good for your eyes, bones and teeth, and their vitamin K content helps your blood to clot properly. Its antioxidant vitamins, particularly C and E, may lower your risk of chronic diseases, while phytonutrients like lutein protect your vision.
Avocado Smooth and creamy, its texture comes from the oleic acid fat content, which coats myelin (the brain’s white matter) to aid speedy messaging. Also a good source of potassium to regulate blood pressure and folate, which helps prevent heart diseases.
Kale Jam-packed with high levels of vitamins K,C and A (for eye health)and calcium (supports bone health), it also boasts phytonutrients to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian.
Spinach Iron, vitamins A,B2, C, as well as magnesium are just several nutrients in this leafy green. Its folate helps the brain stay healthy by preventing plaque buildup and helping to form neuro transmitters (needed for thinking and learning).
Kiwi This tart vitamin C-packed fruit contains actinidin, a protein that aids digestion. It also feature sample amounts of good-for your-bones magnesium and heart-healthy potassium. Kiwis are also full of flavonoids and carotenoids for antioxidant protection.