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Different ages, different menus

Vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates. All these nutrients should be part of the daily menu and the quantities vary according to personal needs, lifestyle, activities and age group. Children, teenagers and the elderly, for example, need more nutrients than adults. This is because the first two are in a phase of growth and hormonal changes and the elderly lose muscle mass over time. According to nutritionist Natália O. Colombo, a specialist in Functional Foods, Supplementation and Phytotherapy, it is important to pay attention to food at different stages of life, as each one has its own particularities and an inadequate diet can lead to damage to health in the short or long term.

The phase in which you should be most attentive is childhood. This is when children acquire their habits. Therefore, it is at this time that they get to know the infinity of flavors that will accompany them for the rest of their lives, says Natália. In addition, she reminds us, it's important to eat meals in a quiet environment, without the television, so that they pay attention to the amount of food they're eating.

Childhood - Up to the age of 6 months, the World Health Organization recommends feeding exclusively on breast milk. From 6 months to 10 years of age, there are different nutritional needs, says Natália, but it's important to always include iron, vitamin A, zinc, proteins, carbohydrates, B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and other minerals. (See details in the table).

Adolescence Girls have their first period and therefore need more iron. Boys, on the other hand, go through the stretch phase, where they grow rapidly and need energy and nutrients, especially proteins, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C, which are strongly linked to the growth pattern, explains Natália. Skipping meals, eating snacks and going on diets without the supervision of a specialist can lead to calcium, iron and vitamin deficiencies.

Adulthood - The busy routine and the abundance of tasty and caloric foods on offer, combined with a decrease in physical activity and daily stress, are very detrimental to eating a balanced diet. In fact, there is no one food that should be consumed in greater quantity, but there is a need to maintain a balanced and varied diet to ensure adequate intake of all nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber). "As in all stages of life, the ideal is to avoid fast foods. The main problems with eating in adulthood are not knowing how to choose a menu and going too many hours without eating, explains Natália.

Elderly people - The elderly tend to lose lean mass, i.e. muscle. They also find it difficult to absorb nutrients, so the ideal diet is one that contains protein, consuming meat, eggs, cheese and milk every day. Other types of nutrient that should not be missing are iron, calcium, vitamins D, C, E and B-complex and zinc, as well as drinking plenty of fluids.


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