Children's Vitamins Information
Part 1 of 2 - Getting Started
Getting Started With Children's Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals promote healthy growth and development in children. These key substances contribute to healing skinned knees, developing vision, boosting energy levels, stabilizing mood, strengthening muscles, building resistance to infection, forming teeth and bones, and producing blood. Getting the recommended daily allowance RDA of all vitamins and minerals makes a difference in childhood and beyond. Since vitamins aren't produced in the body, they have to come from an outside source. Is your child getting what he needs or is it time to consider a multivitamin?
Parents and caregivers want children to have what they need while avoiding extras they don't need. Common sense and research indicate that whole foods are the best sources of the tiny amounts of vitamins that the body needs to thrive; yet, over-the-counter multivitamins have been part of child nutrition for generations. How do you know if your child needs a vitamin supplement? Here are some basics.
Know Your Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A supports growth, night and color vision, skin health, and tissue repair. Yellow vegetables, dairy products, and liver are good sources of vitamin A.
- The B Vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, etc.) are important for metabolic activity. They help to convert food to energy. Additionally, they promote production of the red blood cells which carry oxygen through the body. Whole grains, fish and seafood, poultry and meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and beans are foods rich in the B vitamins. B vitamins may be of particular concern for children who eat vegetarian.
- Vitamin C strengthens the body's skin, connective tissue, and muscles. It also builds resistance to infection and supports absorption of iron. Citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D promotes tooth and bone formation. It regulates absorption of minerals. Sunlight stimulates the skin's ability to convert a naturally occurring compound into vitamin D the body can use. Food sources include fortified dairy products, fish oil, margarine, and egg yolks.
- Calcium is necessary for building strong bones. A link has been found between calcium intake in girls ages 10 to 13 and osteoporosis later in life, making those years particularly significant. Dairy products are the most common natural source of calcium.
- Iron is essential for the production of blood and the building of muscles. It is vital all the time, but especially during growth spurts. Menstruating girls need additional iron. While calcium can prevent absorption, vitamin C promotes absorption. Beef, turkey, pork, and liver offer the most iron. Spinach, beans, prunes, and enriched cereals and flour offer some iron.