We know how important proper nutrition is during childhood. Offering a wide set of nutrients, whole milk can serve as a vehicle to help young children get high-quality protein, vitamin D, calcium, and as pediatricians note, a fat source important for rapidly growing brains.
Though not contained in milk, there are other important nutrients for growing children, such as choline and the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA. Offered by Horizon Organic, the organic whole milk, so aptly named, Growing Years™ was specially designed with help from pediatricians for growing children. Let’s explore why pediatricians chose DHA and choline.
Our bodies can make a small amount of DHA from ALA, which comes from foods such as flaxseed and walnuts. However, ALA conversion to DHA is not efficient, so DHA is best consumed through foods and dietary supplements. Common food sources of DHA include seafoods such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna as well as certain types of algae.
Currently, the FDA has not established a daily recommended amount of DHA. However, some important agencies have suggested minimum daily amounts for different ages. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the recommendations have been made:
Children 2 to 4 years: 100-150mg of EPA and DHA per day
Children 4 to 6 years: 150-200mg of EPA and DHA per day
According to What We Eat in America, NHANES 2015-2016 data, children aged 2 to 5 years consume an average of 20mg of DHA per day.
DHA is an important nutrient to help support brain health but can be hard to get in one’s diet, especially for children. It is easy to see why pediatricians chose DHA as a key nutrient to include in Horizon Organic Growing Years whole milk. A one-cup serving contains 50mg of DHA.
But wait. How does DHA get to the brain? Let’s look at the role of choline in the delivery of DHA.
CHOLINE HELPS TRANSPORT DHA
Sometimes categorized as one of the B-complex vitamins, choline is involved in many processes in the body. Much like a chauffeur, choline plays a role in helping to bring DHA to the brain, so this important fatty acid can then be incorporated into brain cell membranes.
Our bodies can make choline but not in adequate amounts which means it must be consumed from foods or supplements. Both animal and plant food sources contain choline, which include eggs, beef steak, chicken, and soybeans, among many others. According to the Institute of Medicine, the daily adequate intake for choline in young children is as follows:
Children 1 to 2 years: 200mg
Children 4 to 8 years: 250mg
It makes sense that pediatricians identified DHA and choline in helping to develop Horizon Organic’s Growing Years whole milk, the milk specially designed for growing children.