With all the hype and in-your-face marketing about vitamins and supplements for kids these days it’s easy to assume that they are a necessary part of our kid’s everyday diet.
Fortifying foods is becoming increasingly popular (bread, cereals etc) so most children, including picky eaters, are getting their required intake of vitamins BUT in saying that though, it won’t hurt if you do supplement their diets as long as it is not exceeding the daily allowance.
In our household, I do give the girls a multivitamin and kiddy fish oil a couple of times a week plus a tsp of olive leaf extract during winter and times of illness..just as a little extra insurance. I guess this is coming from how I was brought up with my mother always giving us vitamins and now seeing it as the norm.
It’s important to remember though that vitamins shouldn’t be seen as substitutes for a properly balanced diet. The trace elements and don’t replace energy, fats, fibre, protein etc that aren’t found in a tablet form. Trying to mimic lollies is another way marketers are trying to entice kids into asking for them. This, I’m not a big fan of and urge you to talk to your kids and tell them exactly why they are taking them and that they should be seen as a medicine. Just the slip of a blind eye and an overdose could be fatal.
BUT, if you do decide to supplement your kid’s diets be sure to compare brands with these main components
+ Omega 3 fatty acids
Important for brain development. Research has suggested that kids with deficiencies in omega 3’s had considerably more behavioural problems, temper tantrums, learning and sleep problems. Fatty acids are found in fish oil and can only be consumed as our bodies do not manufacture them.
+ B group vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin and panthothenic acid)
Dark leafy greens, milk products, eggs and meats are where these critters hideout. Vitamin B helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy and support the immune and nervous system. Again, these vitamins must be regularly as the body does not store reserves.
+ Vitamin C
Usually found in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, vitamin C helps keep infections at bay, boosts their immune system, helps cuts and bruises to heal faster and assist in the forming of blood cells, bone and tissues.
We all heard how important iodine is before and during pregnancy but it is just as important for kids to help produce the hormones that control their metabolism, growth and development. Iodine is also required for IQ development and school performance. It is found fortified in our packaged bread as well as seafood, eggs, vegetables, meat and dairy
Low zinc levels affect reading ability, concentration and reasoning in school-age kids. Zinc also supports the immune system and bone health. While I don’t think many kids will take to oysters, zinc can also be found in lean red meat, nuts, seeds and whole grains (I sprinkle wheat germ on cereal each morning)
There are two types of iron found in foods. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin, irritability and light headedness. Milk is important for kids but a diet too high in cow’s milk decreases the absorption of iron. Make sure you fill your kids up on broccoli, lean meats raisins and whole grain bread to keep their iron levels healthy.
Potatoes with skins, nuts, beans avocados, bananas, oatmeal, dried apricots and dark leafy greens are great sources of magnesium. A deficiency may lead to hyperactivity, sleepiness and muscle twitching.
* disclaimer – this info is for reference purposes only. Please consult with your child’s doctor or health professional to make sure that this information is right for your child