Between parenting magazines, blogs and well-meaning advice from friends and family, it can be hard to know what foods your kids should be eating and which ones they should avoid. While some people think that fish isn’t healthy for kids to eat, studies have found that this idea simply isn’t true. In fact, fish is filled with nutritional benefits that can help boost your kids’ health and well-being. Here’s what you need to know:
Fish Has Nutrients That Are Key for Kids
Kids’ brains and bodies are constantly changing, so it’s important that they get a healthy diet full of nutrients to help them grow. Fish is the largest natural food source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is key to healthy child brain development, and vitamin D, which helps build and develop young bones. Fish is also a good source of vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, phosphorous and magnesium. It’s a great source of protein, which is needed by every cell in the body for healthy childhood growth and development.
Eating Fish Results in Healthy Kids
It’s no wonder that the FDA has recommended that kids eat two to three servings of fish a week. Studies have proven that kids who eat fish are at an advantage compared to kids that don’t. A recent Dutch study found that eating fish between the ages of six and 12 months resulted in a reduced risk of developing asthma by 36% compared to kids in the same group who didn’t eat fish.
A recent Oxford study found that kids who eat fish regularly have better memories and fewer behavioral problems than kids who don’t. Furthermore, studies have found that kids who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to develop ADHD during childhood. And boys who don’t get enough omega-3s are more likely to develop depression during adolescence.
The Best Fish for Your Kids
One of the main concerns that people have when it comes to kids eating fish is the inclusion of mercury, a contaminant, in some types of fish. Mercury is a toxic chemical that many wild fish such as king mackerel, ahi tuna or swordfish absorb from their surrounding waters. Excessive consumption has been known to cause health problems in pregnant women and kids under the age of six.
Luckily, there are types of fish that are totally free of mercury since they are raised in clean, unpolluted waters. Fresh or frozen Tilapia from Indonesia, Mexico or Honduras is one of our favorite choices for kids because it’s totally mercury-free, a source of lean protein and contains those all-important omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a very mild flavor, making it a great choice for picky eaters. A few other good options include wild Alaska salmon, Arctic char and farmed rainbow trout.
The experts agree: fish is a healthy, nutritious food that is important for kids’ health and development. With nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and high protein content, fish is a great choice for young bodies and minds.
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