From conception to 2 years old, there is a window of opportunity to develop a healthy and long life, in which food and nutrition is a determining factor. The first 1000 days of every human being begin with conception and continue until 2 years old.
This period is known as a window of opportunity to develop a healthy and long life, and nutrition is a determining factor in achieving this. These 1000 days are the most important period for brain development.
At the age of 2, the brain has already developed into a complete organ that will allow it to learn to speak, read and walk, among thousands of other actions. For this reason, proper nutrition is so important from conception to ensure that our son or daughter has all these nutrients. Vision and hearing, language and cognitive functions begin their development from the womb and 80% of neural connections occur before the age of 3.
In addition to brain development, it is known that growth disturbances during this period are associated with an increased risk of cancer and chronic non-communicable diseases.
For this reason, it is important to pay attention to 3 aspects:
1- Intrauterine feeding (that is, during pregnancy): The mother must obtain all the necessary nutrients during pregnancy to ensure optimal fetal growth and development, among the most important nutrients in pregnancy we have:
• Iron; which can lead to low birth weight and iron deficiency anemia. If he/she drinks, he receives less iron in the womb, he/she will have impaired learning and cognition in the future.
• Folic acid; to prevent neural tube defects.
• Iodine; its deficiency lowers the child’s IQ and can lead to low birth weight. It is also important to remember that, during pregnancy, she should consume food sources of vitamin C (citrus fruits), Vitamin E (nuts), Omega 3 (fish and shellfish).
2- Breastfeeding: The ideal is always exclusive breast milk up to 6 months (this provides the baby with fats, carbohydrates, water, proteins, minerals and vitamins) is a complete food for the development and growth of our child. Breastfeeding prevents NCDs and obesity in our children.
3- Complementary feeding: From 6 months to the first year, it begins with the introduction of other foods that complement breast milk or infant formula. These foods must be healthy and include from all groups, that is (proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, carbohydrates), without adding sugar or salt and avoiding some foods such as honey, popcorn or seeds, which should be avoided for the danger of choking, but that, if they can be integrated into the diet such as peanut butter, almonds, and others.
If we start with these healthy eating habits from pregnancy, we will achieve healthier children with a lower risk of diseases. Precisely today, the Ministry of Health launched the Dietary Guidelines for the first 1000 days of baby life.