Are you kids eating a daily balanced diet containing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats?
Are they getting enough Vitamin C for immune, Vitamin D for healthy bones and essential minerals for a healthy heart?
Kids, especially those who are picky eaters, do not always get all of the vitamins and minerals their bodies need through diet alone. While getting much needed nutrients from food is always the best, sometimes adding a supplement to a child’s diet is needed to ensure they’re getting what their growing bodies need and to reduce the risk of certain deficiencies and illnesses.
When do kids need a supplement?
If a child is eating a healthy and complete diet consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, then most likely, they do not need a supplement. However, if a child excludes whole food groups, suffers from a chronic disease, does not get regular sunlight exposure or does not drink Vitamin D fortified milk, then they may benefit from vitamin supplements.
Which supplements do kids need?
If a child isn’t eating fish at least three times per week or seeds every day, they are missing out on those essential fatty acids that help the brain develop and boost IQ. A supplement containing GLA (omega-6) and DHA and EPA (omega-3) can be added to their diet to ensure they are getting enough good fats to aid brain function- ing. Recent studies show 40% of infants and toddlers in the U. S. are not getting enough Vitamin D, which is crucial in building strong bones and maintaining the immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends supplementing Vitamin D in a child’s diet beginning at 2 months of age. Even infants who are breast feeding need Vitamin D supplementation, as well as the mother.
Since fruits and vegetables are the best source of Vitamin C, children who do not eat an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables are likely to experience frequent colds or infections since Vitamin C is needed to boost immunity. Supplementing a child’s diet with Vitamin C will also provide added protection for the body against free radical damage. If a child’s diet consists mainly of sugary, refined, and processed foods instead of fruits, vegetables and healthy grains, they may be lacking B vitamins, which are important to nervous system functioning and are essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates.