Childhood is a time to have fun and engage in new experiences. Parents want to facilitate these environments; at the same time, they have the added responsibility of keeping their children healthy.
Figuring out what your child should eat and if they need a multivitamin or supplement can make parenting harder. Make things easier for yourself by learning the importance of vitamins and supplements for kids.
Should Kids Take a Multivitamin or Supplement?
Ideally, kids should be getting the vitamins they need through the foods they eat. Yet, this isn’t always possible, so pediatricians may recommend a daily multivitamin or supplement for kids:
- without regular, well-balanced meals.
- that eat a lot of fast food and processed food.
- on a restricted diet, like if they need to be dairy-free.
- with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or digestive problems.
- who drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leach vitamins and minerals from their bodies.
- who are picky eaters.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are necessary for bodies to function normally. They help kids and adults to grow, see correctly, form bones and muscles, fight off infections, and more! Make sure your child receives enough of the vitamins and minerals below.
Vitamin A plays a big part in keeping eyes healthy. Your kids can see well at night, which is great for those nights trick-or-treating on Halloween, and see colors better too. Plus, this vitamin has a role as an anti-inflammatory agent and is critical in enhancing immune function.
Foods rich in vitamin A include:
- orange fruits and vegetables, like cantaloupe and carrots.
- dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach.
There’s more than just one B vitamin. Consider vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin); that’s quite a list! B vitamins help with getting energy from the foods eaten and use this energy when the body needs it, like when your kid runs on the soccer field to score a goal.
These vitamins also have an important role in making red blood cells and supporting a healthy metabolism.
Foods rich in B vitamins include:
- whole grains, such as wheat and oats.
- seafood, poultry, and meat in general.
- dairy products, like milk and yogurt.
Vitamin C and Iron
Vitamin C will help your kids grow strong muscles, heal cuts, and keep body tissues in good shape. It also helps the body absorb iron from the foods eaten. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which is when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- broccoli, cabbage, and sweet red peppers.
- strawberries, kiwis, and tomatoes.
- citrus fruits, like oranges.
And foods rich in iron include:
- fortified cereals.
- fish, turkey, and beef.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium; it’s also known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce vitamin D in response to sun exposure. Calcium, meanwhile, helps build strong teeth and bones. They work together, so even if your kid is getting enough calcium, it could go to waste if they’re vitamin D deficient.
An extreme deficiency turns into rickets, a childhood disease where bones become too soft. Rickets can be corrected by taking more vitamin D and calcium, getting more sunlight, and, in severe cases, having corrective surgery for any bone deformities.
Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- egg yolks and mushrooms.
- salmon, herring, and canned tuna.
- milk or orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
And foods rich in calcium include:
- dairy products.
- dark leafy greens and tofu.
- fortified juices.
Kids are prone to injuries, especially when they’re playing.
Remember the last time you or your child got a cut? Vitamin K creates a protein that the body needs to form blood clots. Essentially, certain cells in the blood stick together at the surface to stop the bleeding.
Foods rich in vitamin K include:
- broccoli and green leafy vegetables.
- dairy products, like milk and yogurt.
- soybean, canola, and olive oils.
Children need zinc to grow and develop. Zinc is a mineral that helps to form strong bones, aids in wound healing and immune function, and is essential for the senses of taste and smell.
Foods rich in zinc include:
- meats, like beef or pork.
- dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese.
- lentils, beans, and chickpeas.
The James Clinic understands supplements play an important role. At the same time, patients should not be loaded up with supplements. That’s why, as a functional medicine practice, we work to discover and cure the root cause of illness.
We look forward to helping your family become and stay healthy. Simply request a consult through our website today to get started!