The teenage years are tough for a multitude of reasons. Between the pimples, body odor, hair growth and cracking voices, growing up is hard work.
While the lack of major responsibilities and seemingly endless time to spend with friends were undoubtedly awesome, anyone who says they 100 percent loved this "transition" is just lying. So how can you keep your teen from having a total hormonal meltdown?
Health Through Nutrition
When the male and female hormones -- estrogen and testosterone -- increase in production, the body begins to change, meaning your teen's needs change when it comes to nutrition. By this time, they have also mastered the word "no," exercising their freedom of choice as much as possible, especially when it comes to their diet. To make up for any vital nutrients, minerals or vitamins your child may be missing out on spending their lunch money on French fries and cola, try adding a daily supplement.
When shopping, check the label to make sure your teenager's multivitamin has the following ingredients:
This all-important mineral is necessary for healthy bone growth during this critical developmental period. Later in life, fragile and weak bones can fracture more easily and osteoporosis can develop. According to the Children’s Hospital Boston, the recommended daily amount of calcium for teens is 1,300 mg per day.
Teens need Vitamin D to help with calcium absorption in the body. A deficiency in this essential vitamin can lead to insufficient bone mineralization, resulting in slow growth and soft bones. Studies have shown 20 percent of teenage boys and girls lack Vitamin D and both need at least 600 IU daily.
This mineral helps build muscle mass and increase blood volume. Hemoglobin, the protein component of blood, also needs iron to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. Teenage girls need more iron than boys to replace what is lost every month during their menstrual cycle, about 15 mg per day, while boys need 11 mg per day.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin C:
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston showed insufficient intake of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids in teens led to decreased pulmonary function and intensified respiratory symptoms. Teenagers need them to combat oxidative stress and promote lung function, especially those prone to asthma. Omega-3s also support cardiac health and can be found in fish oil or flax seed. About 250 to 400 mg of Omega-3s and 500 mg of vitamin C daily is recommended in supplement form.
If your teenager knew the function of zinc in their body, they’d be asking for it. Zinc helps them grow taller, reduces the inflammation of acne for better skin and protects the male prostate. The recommended daily amount of zinc for boys is 11 mg per day and 9 mg a day for girls.
Fiber regulates the digestive system for proper bowel function and prevents the onset of Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases as they enter adulthood.
What to Take
A daily multivitamin is really all your teen needs to stay healthy as part of a balanced diet. Additional ingredients that can help are probiotics, folic acid for vascular health and other B vitamins that can help them stay energized. Some also contain herbal blends to promote better mood -- just be sure to consult with your doctor if your child is on any type of medication. Keep them active and make sure your teen always gets a good night's rest and drinks plenty of water.
Keeping their body in balance is the key to a a healthy, angst-free teenager. They may still hate you now, but they will thank you later.
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