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Children are in their infancy. That’s why they need a lot of nutrients, one of them is omega 3 fatty acids. Not only healthy, this one nutrient can also support a child’s cognitive abilities. You can easily find this nutrient in food and supplemental supplements. Before giving omega 3 fatty acids to children, understand the following points.
Omega 3 benefits for children’s health
Omega 3 consists of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These fatty acids are needed to maintain the balance of metabolic functions and body health.
Of the three types, you are certainly more familiar with DHA, right? Yes, DHA is most often found on the packaging of children’s milk products. Actually, what are the benefits of omega 3 for children as a whole?
A study published in Rev. Paul Pediatr in 2017 mentioned several benefits. Gonzales and colleagues in this study found that omega-3 acids can improve children’s cognitive function, sharpen the senses of vision, strengthen the immune system, and maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels.
In fact, there are also studies that show that lack of omega-3 intake in children affects behavioral problems and disorders of the brain.
That is why, children with ADHD, namely children who have disturbances in focusing attention and hyperactivity are usually given omega-3 supplements as part of treatment.
Omega 3 intake per day for children
Omega 3 fatty acids have actually been obtained by children since he was in the womb. Children get the intake of essential fatty acids from food consumed by their mother. After birth, he gets this nutrient from breast milk and food consumed.
Just like other nutrients, omega 3 also has a recommended dose for children every day.
According to the Institute of Medicine, quoted from the Live Strong website, children aged 1-3 years, need 700 mg of omega 3 every day. Meanwhile, children aged 4-8 years need about 900 mg of omega 3 every day.
The amount will increase by 1,000 mg every day, for girls aged 9-13 years. In boys of the same age, the amount is greater, at 1,200 mg per day.
How to meet the needs of omega 3 for children
The abundance of the benefits of these essential fatty acids for children, certainly steal your attention. To meet the needs of omega 3 in children, consider the following tips.
1. Prior to fulfilling omega 3 intake from meals
Omega 3 is not only in food, but also packaged in supplement form. Although it seems more practical, you should choose omega 3 intake through food.
If you intend to provide omega 3 supplements to children, do consult your doctor first. This helps you consider whether a child needs this essential fatty acid supplement or not.
2. Choice of foods containing omega 3
Omega 3 does not only exist in fish. Not all types of fish also contain these essential fatty acids. So you are not confused, here is a row of foods containing omega 3 fatty acids for children:
Fish: salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
Seafood: oysters and shrimp
Nuts: walnuts and soybeans
Grains: flaxseeds and chia seeds
3. Serve attractively so that the child likes it
So that children like these foods, you need to outsmart them. One way is to make a menu creation so that he does not get bored.
If your child likes fish, you can serve salmon with teriyaki or tomato sauce. At other times, you can process fish and shrimp into dumplings or dim sum.
You can also combine it with other food menus, such as nuts and seeds. For example, add pieces of peanuts to yogurt, make peanut butter for toast or sandwiches, and add flaxseeds to muffins, soup, or fried rice.