Friday, June 12, 2020

Does your child need vitamin supplements especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, my old blog post about kiddie vitamin supplements shot to the top 10 of my most-viewed posts. I wasn't surprised. Every mommy is desperate to protect their child from this dreaded disease. Even though it seems to be kinder to children, it will still be a nightmare should our kids get it.

Even I bought a big bottle of multivitamins for my kiddos. Thankfully, they're also spooked by catching the novel coronavirus so it wasn't a battle anymore to get them to take their vitamins. What's still hard is getting them to eat fruits and vegetables. It's easier now, sure, but still not that easy. They still try to get out of eating their veggies but eat them anyway when I tell them to "Please eat everything on your plate." Hence, my reliance on vitamin supplements. But are multivitamins really what my kids need?

So when Mommy Mundo offered their mommy community #StayHome #StayHealthy Moms!, an e-health consultation series, I was happy to watch. Mommy Mundo has always loved putting together all these events for mommies and I was wondering what they have planned now that we're all quarantined. Well, with the help of PLDT Home, Mommy Mundo got to connect fellow moms with health experts on their FB Live series.

Since my concern was my children's nutrition, I was happy to tune in to Dr. Gellina Maala's talk, "Natural Nutrition vs Supplements in Boosting a Child's Immune System." Here's what I learned:

1. The food pyramid has crumbled.

Growing up, we all studied the food pyramid. You know, that illustration that says a healthy diet is founded on a lot of carbohydrates! I love my carbs so when I saw the Healthy Food Plate, the new standard of a healthy diet, I was dismayed hahaha. 

One half of our plate should be fruits and veggies. And no, rice and pasta and bread may be made from plants but they are not veggies! They should only make up 1/4 of our plate, with healthy fats like nuts. The other 1/4 of our plate should be protein. And just drink water!!!

It is sooo hard for me to curb my carbs. I've tried countless times. I really love rice and pasta and pansit. But sige, let's try again! 

2. The most malnourished people in society are pregnant women, young children, and adolescents.

And this makes me so angry. I'm not saying men don't need nutrition. I'm just upset that the people who need extra nourishment most because they're either growing a human being inside them or nourishing a baby, or they're going through growth spurts aren't getting the nutrition they need. Dear society, we need to do better!

We have to get our government to make sure pregnant and breastfeeding women understand the importance of eating well for the sake of their babies. We also need to have good feeding programs and educational programs for young children and teens. I mean, we moms who are well off or have access to information and good food, we're fine. We can take care of ourselves. But what about our less fortunate sisters and their children? If you know any way we can help (and I want a government-led initiative because I am so tired of the private sector making salo lahat ng pagkukulang ng gobyerno natin), please tell me! 

3. Nutritional damage in a child is irreversible.

This is alarming! We always think that we can stuff our kids with so much junk or just stick a bottle of milk in their mouths all day. Kasi pwede silang bumawi with vitamins, or kapag mas nakakaintindi na sila, we can make them eat healthy food na. We can't do this pala! Dr. Gellina said that there is a critical window between conception and 2 years of age when our child needs the best nutrition. When we fail to give them the nutrients they need, their brains and bodies are damaged forever. In the words of Dr. Gellina, "Nutritional damage during this period is irreversible." They're not going to be as tall, as fast, as smart, as strong as they could've been if they had gotten the right nutrition. 

So eat well while pregnant! And if you can, please please please breastfeed your child because breast milk is the best food for babies up to 2 years old.  

4. Multivitamins are not necessarily necessary.

So if we need to give the kids the best nutrients, we should pump them full with vitamin supplements, right? Well, no. The most efficient way to get our vitamins and minerals is still through food. Dr. Gellina said our bodies were designed to digest and absorb nutrients from food. So before we buy the supplements, let's really try harder at getting our kids to eat a healthy diet.

The only reason we should turn to vitamin supplements is when our kids are picky eaters or have food allergies. Or if their lifestyle prevents them from getting certain vitamins. For example, since we're all (still!) quarantined, our kids aren't getting the much-needed sunlight their bodies need to make Vitamin D. So I need to ask our pediatrician about this vitamin supplement.  

5. The best way to get your kids to eat healthy is... YOU!

Dr. Gellina was asked about appetite stimulants and she said the best way to get our kids to eat and to eat healthy is to be the role model for them. Have a good relationship with your food and your body. Get the kids to prepare the food with you so they'd want to taste it. Eat healthy food. I'm going to add another tip: Let your kids play, as in physical na laro na mapapagod sila. They will get so hungry and will eat so much after! 

And that's what I learned from the talk of Dr. Gellina on nutrition at the Mommy Mundo #StayHealthy #StayHome series! You can watch the whole thing here.

There's another talk by Dr. Andrea Carag. This will help you discern if what you or your child feels is a viral or bacterial infection. Click click: Decoding the Germ Code: Understanding the Difference Between Viral and Bacterial Illnesses.

With all of us staying home and relying on the world wide web to keep us connected and informed, it is so important to have fast and reliable internet. Try PLDT Home for faster download speeds so that everything you need to know, see and hear is with you in an instant. Check out to choose among the many digital products and internet services of PLDT.

*This post is brought to you by PLDT Home through Mommy Mundo.

*images by Tanaphong Toochinda from Unsplash.

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