If we were to believe everything the media says, then every kid should be given a Gummy bear or Flintstone vitamin. Experts agree that growing children need vitamins and minerals; however, this doesn’t mean that parents should start supplementing their diets with pills. Even though most toddlers are picky eaters, there are fun ways to persuade yours to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here are some essential vitamins and minerals that every child needs for a normal, healthy growth.
Healthy fats are extremely important for the growth and proper development of your child. Toddlers in particular, need fats to help their nervous system and brain develop correctly. Apart from supplying fuel for the system, fats help the body soak in other essential vitamins that are fat soluble, such as vitamin D, E, A, and K. If parents don’t include healthy fats into their kids ‘diet, the vitamins we just mentioned can’t be properly assimilated. Unlike adults, kids burn a lot of energy, so fat is an excellent energy source.
Main foods that contain healthy fats are: dairy products, meat, fish, nuts & seeds, and eggs. In special circumstances (lactose intolerant kids), parents may turn to supplementing their kids’ diet with a vitamin tablet to ward off deficiencies. Vegan omega 3 supplements for instance, are an ideal choice, although you need to consult a pediatrician before giving your toddler any over-the-counter pill.
Calcium promotes healthy muscle and nerve function; it builds strong teeth and bones, and it helps the blood clot properly. Also, it’s an essential vitamin that aids the system transform food into energy. From early childhood all the way to adolescence, the body makes use of calcium to develop the bone; teens, particularly young girls who don’t provide their bones with enough calcium sources, are at maximum risk of developing osteoporosis, a bone disease that leads to weakened bones and fractures.
Iron is important in kids because it is responsible for making hemoglobin, a red pigment that carries oxygen and can be found into the blood. Red blood cells flow throughout our bodies to distribute oxygen to the cells; iron deficiency may trigger severe health conditions, especially in growing kids. Infants get enough iron from their mothers through breastfeeding; as for toddlers with ages between 4 and 7, they must include 10mg of iron per day. Insufficient quantities of iron may trigger anemia, irritability, fatigue and weakness in children.
Kids need magnesium to have strong bones and a healthy heart rhythm. The mineral is also responsible for maintaining proper nerve and muscle function. Children with ages between 1 and 3 need 80mg of magnesium per day and those between 4 and 8 need 130mg per day. Legumes and nuts are excellent sources of magnesium. Green vegetables are also advised, although it can be tough for a parent to convince the kids to eat veggies.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for your child’s diet. It is known to repair red blood cells, tissue and bone. Also, it keeps your kid’s gums strong and healthy, thus diminishing bruising from scrapes and falls. Furthermore, vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds a lot faster; it boosts the immune system and makes sure infections are kept at bay. Best sources of vitamin C are colorful vegetables and fruits (mainly citrus fruits).
Potassium controls a child’s water balance in the body. It maintains proper blood pressure and it assists with heart rhythm and muscle function. As a matter of fact, a child’s diet that is low in potassium may trigger high blood pressure. Kids with ages between 1 and 3 should include 3,000mg of potassium per day, and those between 3 and 8 must include 3,800mg/day. Excellent food sources of potassium are vegetables and fresh fruits, but also cereal, milk and meat.
It’s really important for parents to make sensible choices when it comes to supplementing their kids’ diets with vitamins and minerals. Food sources are the healthiest, and even if it can be tough to persuade kids to eat right, it’s not something impossible to do. Supplements under the form of capsules and tablets may be advised, but a child’s diet must never be based on pills.