Is It Safe To Give Yogurt To Toddlers During Winters?
Yogurt is an easily accessible, nutritious food at every household. But, can it be consumed during winter, considering it is a ‘cold’ food in itself?
By Shiny Lizia M
Anamika Khanna is worried over her six-year-old son, Puneet, who is down with cold and fever. Anamika thinks yogurt is the culprit, for Puneet loves yogurt and consumes it on a regular basis. She thinks it was a bad idea to give her son yogurt during the cold season. However, a visit to the doctor proved her wrong. The doctor attributed her son’s illness to being exposed to cold weather.
That yogurt is cold and should be avoided during winter is a notion that many parents have. But, is this true? Find out by going through the following article.
The health benefits of yogurt are well known. Yogurt provides many essential vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12 etc. Children who are vegetarian can meet their protein requirements from yogurt.
Yogurt and dairy products are a rich source of calcium and phosphorus (100 g of plain whole-milk yogurt meets approximately 10 per cent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium in children). Calcium and phosphorus contribute to your child’s structural integrity and development of bones.
Also, yogurt contains excellent immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties which make it essential to include it in your child’s diet during winter, a season of frequent visits to the pediatrician.
Health benefits of yogurt:
Probiotic foods like yogurt provide the following benefits:
- Prevent infection: Antibiotics kill bad germs that cause infections in the body. They also can kill the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Probiotics help in replenishing the lost healthy bacteria and restore the balance between healthy and harmful bacteria in your child’s gut.
- Immunomodulation: Help strengthen your child’s immune system.
- Reduce blood cholesterol levels: Ferment the soluble fibre in food, producing healthy short-chain fatty acids that nourish the cells of the large intestine. These protective fatty acids reduce the development of intestinal cancer by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and also reduce the production of excess cholesterol in the liver.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Help in reducing the severity of abdominal pain, cramping and bloating. It is also effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome and Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Nutrient metabolism: Improve child growth through the prevention of infections and micronutrient deficiencies as they improve the absorption of certain nutrients (calcium, zinc and vitamin B12) and reduce the risk of anaemia. Yogurt has a much higher concentration of protein, vitamins and minerals than milk. Yogurt also makes it easier for the body to absorb such nutrients as calcium, zinc and magnesium.
- Lactose intolerance: A child suffering from this condition lacks the enzyme lactase and is unable to digest lactose sugar present in dairy products. Yogurt and other fermented dairy products promise to be an alternative to milk for lactose intolerant children.
- Dental health: Having a cup of yogurt soon after consuming sugary food (chocolates or desserts) could be effective in preventing dental problems.
Can yogurt be given to children in winter?
Science advocates yogurt as a healthy food choice in all seasons. The immune-boosting properties of yogurt make it an ideal choice to be consumed during winter to keep common winter illnesses at bay.
A study at the University of Vienna found people who ate yogurt daily for just two weeks raised their killer T cell count by nearly 30 per cent. Killer T cells is a type of white blood cells that kill cancer cells. Other studies have found that probiotics may also reduce the length and severity of cold.
It is important to understand that cold and flu are not caused by cold weather or cold food. They are caused by viral infections of the upper respiratory tract as a result of pollutants or contaminants. In this case, including enough yogurt can have various health benefits such as boosting your child's immunity and warding off illnesses.
Eating yogurt when your child suffers from cold can help ensure adequate fluid intake due to its moisture content. If she experiences gastrointestinal issues, the probiotics in yogurt may aid faster recovery.
Yogurt is not only nutritious and tasty but can be incorporated into many delicious recipes as shown by the ClipBook below.
This accessible, easy-to-digest, and tasty food provides important nutrients to both children and adults. So, go ahead and include yogurt in your child’s diet this winter and help him stay fit and healthy!
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Shiny Lizia M