THE ILOCOS TIMES    November 4 – November 10, 2013 HEALTH / NUTRITION



Facts and Tips on Child Care and Nutrition


Written by Ma.Anna Rita Ramirez, NIPS-NAMD


A child is a piece of miracle in itself one can never really fathom. It sets forth the purpose of being and existing in a technology-driven and complex world. Everything “becomes right” when one gets the wisdom from a child’s trusting look. That is why everything a mother does or even plans ahead for generally revolve around her brood.

One such maternal obligation is keeping tabs on her child’s growth as she feeds him right. Here are a few simple facts and quick-tips on what to keep tabs on with regards to a child’s growth:

*  There are two “growth spurts” in a child’s life.

*  The first “growth spurt” is during infancy. Infants increase weight rapidly from birth up to two years old.

*   If the baby is well, his birthweight doubles at about 5 months old and triples at one year old.

*  Breastfeed the baby exclusively from birth to 6 months. Do not give any other liquid to the infant except breastmilk.

*  At 6 months of age, breastmilk is not enough anymore for the baby.

*  At this age, introduce the child to a variety of foods. Teach the child to appreciate various colors, texture and taste of food. Eating habits are formed as early as infancy.

*  Give the child finely sliced food. Whenever possible, mash foods to make these easier to digest.

*  Give foods cooked in oil or spread margarine in his rice for added energy. Check out the vitamin A-fortified cooking oil and spreads available in the local markets.

*  Serve foods in amounts that the child can consume. A child eats to his capacity.

*  Feed the child more frequently while young so that his body’s requirements for food and nutrients are met.

* Be observant when it comes to the physical growth and development of the child.

*  Monitor the child’s weight every month. Check for weight loss or if the child does not gain weight. This is cause for alarm and may signal insufficient food intake for the child’s body needs or requirements.

*  A continued weight loss may signal the presence of a disease or the child could have suffered from frequent bouts of infection.

*  Often, a malnourished child is prone to contract infections more easily due to decreased immunity or resistance to diseases.

* With prolonged deficiencies in micronutrients, the child is predisposed to further physical or developmental damage in later life.

*  On the other hand, a child who weighs excessively more than his age or height may show signs of overweight or obesity. Obesity and being overweight are also forms of malnutrition.

* Severe under- or over-nutrition could spell as risk factors to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, etc. that may appear in adulthood.

*  Do not hesitate to consult a doctor for any abnormal change in the child’s growth.

*  The second “growth spurt” in a child’s life is at puberty, or when the child is within 10 to 13 years of age.

*  At this stage, energy-giving, protein-, calcium-, and zinc-rich foods are must to sustain increased needs necessary for growth and bone development.

*  Zinc deficiency has been documented to be partly responsible for the growth retardation, delayed skeletal maturation and sexual maturity, among others. Red meats and shellfish are rich sources of zinc.

* Increased intake of iron-rich foods especially for the girls are recommended. Onset of menstruation is around this age and menstrual blood loss need to be replenished in order to prevent anemia.

*  Give increased helpings of their usual diets.

*  Make sure that the school child drinks milk at least once a day.

*  Milk consumption answers the child’s requirements for calcium, protein and the B vitamins - nutrients that are important to a child’s growth.

*  Make sure that the child eats breakfast before going to school. Eating a good breakfast aids in his school performance.

*  Encourage children to become conscious with nutrition labels.

*  Start by buying fortified foods for the home.

*  Some brands of cheeses, hotdogs, powdered drinks, noodles, catsup, and cooking oil are already fortified.

*  Prepare nutritious packed lunches for the school child.

*  Packed lunches should be easy-to-eat and appetizing. Plan out packed lunches such that the child does not get bored with the food he brings to school.

*  Instill in the child the value of eating his food properly and avoid wastage.

*  At home, serve nutritious snacks in amounts he can consume, served way ahead of the next meal so as not to disrupt the child’s appetite.

*  Lastly, give additional care and feeding to children who are ill. This will enable the child to regain his strength at a faster rate.



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Tips for Nursing Mothers


Written by Marilita A. Aguilos, PEU-OD   



“ Breastfeeding still best for babies even during emergencies”


A nursing mother, just like a pregnant woman, has increased nutritional needs. This accounts for increase in calories to produce adequate milk and to take care of the newborn. Breastmilk contains about 0.7 kcal/ml. To ensure an optimum supply of good breastmilk nursing mother should eat a well-balanced diet and take plenty of fluids preferably milk, juices, soups, and water.

Other factors believed to be affecting milk secretion are the emotional and physical state of the mother and the presence of baby sucking the breast.

Worrying about her breast shape after breastfeeding and being tied down at home during the duration of the breastfeeding may stop the flow of milk. Thus, a relax environment, enough rest, good sleep, and encouragement from relatives particularly the husband are needed to help enhance milk secretion.

Exclusively breast-feeding for 6 months and utmost love and care will ensure the normal growth and development of infants. Give babies the best food, that is, breastmilk.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) has developed a pamphlet on meal planning during pregnancy and lactation for dissemination/distribution to the mothers and other interested clients at minimal cost. This handout can be obtained from the Research Utilization Division (RUD), Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). This contains information on what foods need additional servings to ensure an adequate supply of breastmilk and tips on breastfeeding.

Sucking of the baby also stimulates the flow of milk. For the first 3 days, it is advised that the baby be allowed to suck 3 - 5 minutes on each breast to “empty the breast”, that is, to obtain the most available milk in this time. As days go by, nursing time should be lengthened. When nursing becomes established, 15-20 minutes per breast will be sufficient to ensure adequate supply of milk for the baby.



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Potassium in Bananas Helps Regulate Blood Pressure


By: Ma. Idelia G. Glorioso,   



Bananas are one of the most popular fruits among people of all origins because these can be available fresh year-round and cheaper compared with other tropical fruits.

To the consumer, the banana seems a simple name for the yellow and elongated fruit that is served as a dessert. The word “banana” is a general term embracing a number of species or hybrids of the genus Musa of the family of Musaceae, closely related to plantains.

Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas or as green cooking bananas. The ripe banana is popularly served as a dessert. It is a delicious addition to fruit salads or simply eaten out of hand. Overripe bananas make excellent breads, cookies, muffins and cakes. They make attractive garnish in ice cream. Unripe or green bananas are used in cooking. Unripe bananas can be fried, boiled, baked or made into chips.

Bananas are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Potassium is a mineral that is important for controlling the body’s fluid balance. It is also needed for muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, and the proper functioning of the body’s heart and kidneys. Potassium helps regulate water balance and blood pressure in cells, together with other minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium.

Besides being a good source of vitamins and minerals, banana is also a natural remedy for a number of illnesses and conditions. Ripe banana relieves diarrhea, whereas the unripe banana relieves constipation. Banana is highly recommended for patients suffering from high blood pressure because of its potassium content. The fresh leaves of banana are also used as bed spreads for bed ridden patients to avoid bedsores.

One piece of banana each day restores the balance of potassium. So make it a habit to include banana in your daily meals.

According to Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos 2000 developed by the Technical Working Group headed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), you should eat more vegetables, fruits, and rootcrops.



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Common Pinoy healthy foods


Filipino cuisine ranks among the most flavorful and unique in the world. However, finding healthy food in the Philippines can be a challenge. Many traditional Filipino dishes such as fried plantains are rich in dietary fat. Dining on healthy food in the Philippines can help you move toward your health goals and enjoy the rich flavors of the local cuisine.


Pakbet is a Filipino vegetable dish bursting with flavor and a spicy aroma. The dish typically contains onions, eggplant, tomatoes, bitter melon and okra. Vegetables are a natural low-fat source of essential minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. According to, consuming vegetables as part of a heart healthy diet can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, kidney stones and osteoporosis.


Ginataang is a traditional Filipino stew that contains seafood such as shrimp and fish. Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Regularly consuming omega-3 fats can help reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve diabetic blood sugar control, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. However, if you take blood-thinning medications, talk to you physician before adding significant amounts of omega-3 fats to your diet.

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken

You can’t help but smell the wafting aroma of lemongrass chicken when you walk down streets of Manila at night. Chicken is significantly lower in total and saturated fat than pork or beef — making it an ideal choice for those that are heart-health conscious. According to a test tube study published in the February 2008 “Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases,” lemongrass combats growth of the fungus Candida — a common cause of skin infections. However, no human studies have replicated these results.

Tortang Talong

Tortang Talong is a delicious Filipino breakfast and lunch dish containing eggs and eggplant. Eggs are a natural appetite suppressant that can help you manage your weight, the February 2010 issue of “Nutrition Research” notes. In this study, a group of men were given an egg-based breakfast. The scientists found that the egg eaters ate fewer calories over the next 24-hour period when compared to a group that ate a bagel for breakfast.

Sheknows Health & Wellness




(November 4 –

November 10, 2013)

(Printed version in PDF file)



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Facts and Tips on Child Care and Nutrition

Tips for Nursing Mothers

Potassium in Bananas Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

Common Pinoy healthy foods



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