Your little one’s taste in food may be simple, but the science of good nutrition goes a bit deeper.
Your baby’s overall development, including that of their immune system and brain, depends on appropriate amounts of macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). These nutrients help provide cell membrane structure, regulate metabolism, and supply energy.
Here's a brief description of how micro- and macronutrients feed your baby’s growth and development:
CARBOHYDRATES supply food energy for growth, body functions, and activity. They also allow protein and lipids to be used efficiently and normally.
LIPIDS provide more than twice the energy of carbohydrates or protein to power growth and functionality. Lipids are made up of fatty acids. Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are considered essential fatty acids because they are not made by the body and must be obtained by food. These fatty acids are converted to arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are important for brain and eye development.
PROTEINS help develop, maintain, and repair new tissues throughout the body, including in the brain.
VITAMIN E is an antioxidant found in cells, including cells in a baby’s developing eyes and brain. Vitamin E helps protect these cells. It’s also essential for structure and function of the nervous system, retinas, and skeletal muscles. Common food sources of vitamin E include:
- Oil-containing grains
- Fortified cereals
- Vegetable oils
- Plants and vegetables