Milk and dairy products are an important part of full and healthy child nutrition. But how much milk do children of different age groups need? Gastroenterologist Svetlana Isakova explains.
Half of child nutrition should consist of milk and dairy products. Milk proteins are easy to digest and they do not require digestive glands’ hard work. Fat is a construction material for cells. Fatty acids take part into the nervous system formation. Milk sugar (lactose) serves as a positive environment for beneficial microflora generation when it comes to the intestine. Moreover, lactose encourages a better calcium digestion. In childhood calcium provides for bone tissue formation; it participates in the process of blood coagulation; brings normal excitability of the nervous tissue and abridgeability of skeletal muscle into action.
With one glass of whole milk (240 g) a child receives: 8 g of proteins; 11 g of carbohydrates; up to 8 g of fats; 300 mg of calcium (35% of the daily norm for a school child); vitamin B2, vitamin B12 (30% of the daily norm for a child); vitamin D (25% of the daily norm for a child as well as for an adult); vitamin A (10% of the daily norm for a child as well as for an adult); zinc (10% of the daily norm for a child as well as for an adult)
Furthermore, milk and dairy products are an important source of iodine. There is up to 16 micrograms of iodine in milk and up to 14 micrograms in kefir. The daily norm for children is around 90-120 micrograms. Iodine is one of the most important elements of the child body normal functioning. There is very little iodine in the child body and it is spent quite fast for the body’s needs. If not enough iodine enters with food, iodine deficiency starts to gradually grow, which may cause quite grave consequences, for example, endemic goiter.
Necessary quantity of dairy products a day (according to Ministry of Health’s recommendations):
1-3 year-old children
4-6 year-old children
7-10 year-old children
11-14 year old children
Therein, no other product can replace milk: for all the period of evolution our digestive system has adapted to consume milk. If a child does not get a sufficient amount of milk there is a risk of a range of nutrients deficiency, which can lead to intestine disorder, problems with bony skeleton formation and metabolic process. That is to say, this deficiency may become a reason for physical and psychomotor development abnormalities.
But what should the mothers whose children suffer from milk intolerance do? Usually people think that the reason for discomfort is in lactose intolerance, but this diagnosis can often be wrong. Researches show that for most of the people the reason hides in A1 protein, not in lactose. Being digested this protein often escalates the risks of inflammatory processes and causes discomfort, such as aches, distention or constipation. The thing is, that an opioid fragment β-casomorphin 7 is released in the process of A1 protein digestion, which may not only cause discomfort, but have a general negative influence on health and well-being of children as much as adults.
In the case of milk intolerance, try to introduce A2 milk into your diet. A2 milk is natural milk without A1 protein. The shift to A2 milk lowers the risks of inflammatory processes and may lead to an overall improvement of children’s intestinal transit. Yet, A2 milk is not suitable for those children who have a proved allergy to milk proteins. In such cases you should refuse any milk and give the child additional vitamins and food supplements. In all the other cases A2 milk will become a full-fledged alternative for usual milk.