Back to Expert Articles - The Teen Scene of Nutrition & Health
The Teen Scene of Nutrition & Health
The Teen Scene of Nutrition and Health
Teen age starts after “thirteen” but today girls are into the “teen mode” soon after turning 10-11 years! At the backdrop of a good looking girl you may find “starvation diet”, “cabbage soup diet”, “weakness and tantrums” etc. All teenagers want to remain slim and trim and want a “Cosmetic body and Zero Figure” They don’t like their moms advising for healthy and nutritious diet. Let’s understand what this situation leads to:
One day three moms came to me for their daughters’ diet. They had a very good insight. Daughters were studying in standard 12th. Their concern was - what type of diet should give to their daughter to help cope up with the stress of Std. 12th ???
I met the three musketeers – Shailaja, Aashka and Riya. Shailja was feeling lethargic, had constipation and felt sleepy. Aashka had chronic headache problem and was overweight. Riya was too fussy for food and showed tantrums on her mom. All the three girls had mental stress of their study. I heard their complaints and diet recall and gave following advice –
@ They needed adequate Iron for hemoglobin. To get concentration and energy to cope up study it is vital. Being vegetarian, it is important to manage non-heam iron content. Also to get Vitamin B Complex and C from daily food was equally important. I gave them information of the food sources. They should eat nutritious food every three hours so that glucose level remains optimum and do not get exhausted.
@ They were told to stop all the refined flour items like burger maggi noodles, biscuits etc. Such foods can be as SOS and not staple. If they don’t take good amount of fibers, constipation will be chronic. Protein is also important for brain functions, making good neurotransmitters and to reduce mental stress, so they must take sprouts, milk and milk products, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
@ "Lack of Nutrition and overconsumption of processed food was the reason of the problems in these girls. Shailaja was lacking in Vitamin B complex. Aashka was victim of over nutrition due to junk food. The cheese, pasta and ice cream were showing their effect. Riya was stressed due to lack of under nutrition due to her tantrums, and she used to be always irritating."
Three friends took meals in school together so I tried to motivate them like this -
> I told Shailja to bring healthy snacks like poha/ sprouts/ upma for the first snack break.
> Aahka was told to get homemade lunch like thepla/roti wrap/franky/steamed savories etc.
> I told Riya to bring fruits/fruit chat/ salad to eat while on the go to home or to tuition.
Like this they improved their eating habits and always looked forward to make variety and feed their friends. Needless to say, their small problems disappeared and they all gained freshness, energy and happiness. Today they are into their carrier and doing well.
Current Scene -
General nutrition level of today’s adolescents is undernourished. Teens love pastries, chocolates, coffee and all the junk food. Many teen age girls get excess bleeding therefore become anemic. T.V and media add on to the bad eating habits. Girls tend to take more comfort and junk foods, which lower the nutritional condition. When mothers advise to eat homemade food, they do not like it. Consumption of fast foods leads to weight gain. Worldwide researches show that obesity rates in adolescent are increasing at alarming rate. So, teen agers should be taught to change their food habits. An adolescent aspiring for bright carrier and future cannot move further with poor nutritional stage as nutrition is equally important for brain functions, concentration and mental health.
Eating Disorders -
Today’s teens are more concerned for outer look and figure rather than inner strength and energy. To remain slim and lean, they compromise on eating. Gradually this mentality turns to first do binge eating and then vomiting, a condition called “BULIMA”. Generally girls eat their favorite foods up to heart’s content and then they feel guilty and worried of gaining weight. With this fear, they forcefully vomit and take the food out, thinking that this food will not increase weight. When this becomes a habit, body looses vital vitamins and other nutrients. This makes them weaker and deficient. Then it becomes a vicious cycle- You eat, you puke, you feel weak and body is robbed off nutrients.
When one literally starves to remain slim, nutritional deficiencies start and it is associated with a psychological condition called “ANOREXIA NERVOSA” Girls hardly take 800-1000 calories food comprised of soups, salads and few other items which do not suffice their basic caloric needs, leave apart nutrient needs. They suffer from Protein-calorie malnourishment (generally seen in poor and starved African children). The side effects are fatigue, irritability, low to zero immunity, loss of appetite, poor complexion and hair loss, fragile bones and so on.
This condition can be changed only when there is clinical intervention, diet therapy and psychological help. It can lead to serious health threats for life time. Do you still want to remain slim at the cost of your health???
Beauty with Nutrition –
When you want to look beautiful can easily be with help of nutrition. Some foods have estrogenic properties which smoothens your skin whereas, few foods aggravate skin problems like acne or dry skin. Several foods make your hair glow and bulky whereas other foods will make hair thin and make them fall. See how:
1. HAIR : # Vitamin E containing Food like - Vegetable oils, Wheat germ
# Milk, Curd, Nuts, Coconut water, Plain water
2. SKIN : # Lemon, Amla, Orange and other citrus fuits
# Whole Grains, Leafy Greens, Honey, Milk and water
3. Fairness : # Honey, Saffron, Milk, Legumes, Curd, Fresh salad
4. Weight Control : # Pulses and Legumes, Sprouts, Soya Milk and Whole grains
# Low fat / skim milk and dairy
# Green leafy veggies and fruits
So now, tell me any of the above foods are impossible to eat?
Then why do we refrain from it and strain our bodies with under nourishment?
It is better to remain beautiful, toned and fit with nourishment and exercise then spending money in saloon, spa or cosmetic procedures.
Think hard and grow happy !!
Publised On: Aug 17, 2015
Author: Dr Janki Patel, Ph. D in Nutrition (Practicing Nutritionist at Healthy Minds)