As parents, you've probably seen all of the ads everywhere that recommend giving essential vitamins for kids.
However, does your child really need to take supplements, and what vitamins do children really need?
Do all kids need vitamin supplements?
Not all kids need to take supplements, especially since having a healthy diet provides all of the vitamins and nutrients that a growing child needs.
However, not all kids have access to a healthy diet, and some kids can tend to be very picky when it comes to the food that they eat, so they might not be getting all of the nutrients that their body needs.
As a rule, kids who need vitamins are the following:
- Kids who aren't able to eat fresh and well-balanced meals
- Picky eaters who don't like eating certain types of food, such as vegetables
- Kids who have allergies, chronic illnesses such as asthma, or kids who are taking medication
- Kids who eat a lot of fast food, processed food
- Kids who are on a vegetarian diet (some might need iron or calcium supplements)
- Kids who drink a lot of sodas
As a rule, it would be better to consult your doctor before giving your child any vitamins, even over-the-counter ones. Your child's doctor would best be able to know if your child needs any additional supplements or not.
What vitamins are essential for kids?
While it's true that all vitamins play a role when it comes to your child's health, there are 6 vitamins that are considered essential:
Vitamin A helps promote healthy eyes, skin, and immune responses. Good sources of vitamin A would be squash, yellow or orange vegetables, milk, cheese, and eggs.
B vitamins, which include vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12, help aid metabolism, energy production, a healthy circulatory system, and nervous system. Great sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
Vitamin C helps keep your child's muscles strong, prevent them from having infections, and keeps their skin healthy. Great sources are citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes, and green veggies.
Vitamin D keeps your child's teeth and bones strong and also helps the body better absorb calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include milk, fatty fish such as salmon, and mackerel. Another great source of vitamin D is sunlight, so make sure your child gets enough sunlight!
Calcium helps strengthen your child's bones as they grow. Just like vitamin D, milk is a great source of calcium, along with cheese, yogurt, most dairy products, and tofu.
Iron helps keep your child's red blood cells healthy. In adolescents, iron deficiency is a risk, especially for girls who start their menstruation. That's why iron is an important nutrient for your kids. Good sources of iron include red meat, liver, pork, turkey, spinach, beans, and prunes.