Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meal planning

Calcium: Builds strong bones and teeth, promotes healthy nerve and muscle function, helps blood clot, and helps the body convert food into energy. Essential fatty acids (EFAs): Help build cells, regulate the nervous system, strengthen the cardiovascular system, build immunity, and help the body absorb nutrients. Necessary for healthy brain function and vision. Iron: Important for making hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying red pigment in blood, and myoglobin, a pigment that stores oxygen in muscles. Lack of iron can cause anemia, which can result in fatigue, weakness, and irritability. Magnesium: Keeps bones strong and the heart rhythm steady, supports the immune system, and helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Potassium: Works with sodium to control the body's water balance, which helps maintain blood pressure. Assists with muscle function and heart rhythm and, in later years, may reduce the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. Vitamin A: Plays an important role in vision and bone growth; helps protect the body from infections; promotes the health and growth of cells and tissues in the body, including the hair, nails, and skin. Vitamin C: Helps form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues; helps keep your child's gums healthy and strengthens blood vessels, minimizing bruising; assists with healing, boosts the immune system, and keeps infections at bay. Also helps the body absorb iron from iron-rich foods. Vitamin D: Helps the body absorb minerals like calcium and builds strong teeth and bones. Essential for reaching growth potential and peak bone mass. Also functions as a hormone with roles in immune system health, insulin production, and regulation of cell growth. Vitamin E: Limits the production of free radicals, which can damage cells. Important for immunity, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes. Zinc: Needed by more than 70 enzymes that aid digestion and metabolism, and essential for growth.

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