Raise your hand for VITAMINS!
Written by Nancy Guberti, a Functional Medicine Specialist, Nutritionist, and passionate to empower others to become their health advocate --
Most parents know that kids need vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development and to boost the immune system. But knowing what nutrients and how much they need of each is not always easy, and many vitamin deficiencies may not be obvious. Encourage consuming foods from the "rainbow," so your kids eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients their body needs. It's a great complement to healthy eating to add in some vitamins and minerals, and especially if you have a picky eater, restricted diet, illnesses, or health condition.
Let's delve a little deeper into vitamins and minerals to help ensure your kids are on the right nutritional track. The goal is to get the majority of nutrients from a well-rounded or balanced eating regime to meet the daily recommendations of vitamin and mineral intake. Children who eat a well-balanced diet consisting of organic foods may still need a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Here are the most recommended supplements for kids:
Vitamin A, B, C and D, calcium, probiotics, zinc, and iron. During cold and flu season, then we turn to elderberry and echinacea as immune stimulants to supercharge one's immune system.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, they recommend kids take at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily, beginning in infancy. It is known to help fight off colds and flu because it sends an immune response when the body is threatened with bacteria or viruses. According to the CDC website, the recommendation for breastfed and partially breastfed infants is taking 400 IU of vitamin D beginning at birth. Vitamin D is in the wild-caught salmon, cod liver and egg yolks, and of course, sunlight but not sunburn. Sunshine stimulates vitamin D, which naturally occurs in the skin, to become active in the body. Another vital role of Vitamin D for kids is that it controls the absorption of calcium, which aids in the development of bones and teeth.
Vitamin C helps boost one's immune system, strengthens tissue, muscles, and skin. I have seen many kids as well as adults low in vitamin C. These individuals have suppressed immune systems, adrenal dysfunction, and imbalanced neurotransmitters. Vitamin C is in fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, and kale. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin and normal growth and crucial for vision and tissue repair. It protects one's respiratory health, and a deficiency compromises the immunity of the airways of the lungs. Vitamin A is in yellow and orange vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and liver.
Vitamin B helps with metabolism and energy as well as the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B6, in particular, is involved with the biosynthesis of several neurotransmitters, including GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Vitamin B is in meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and whole grains.
Iron is vital for kids during accelerated growth as it helps build muscle and needed to produce red blood cells. Iron deficiencies led to increased infections. Iron is in beef, pork, turkey, beans, and spinach. A zinc deficiency also contributes to immune dysfunction because it helps the body produce T cells, which are part of the immune system.
Calcium is vital for the maintenance and development of healthy teeth and bones. It is in broccoli, spinach, sardines, and fortified beverages.
Probiotics are one of my favorite recommendations for kids for a natural immune booster since it strengthens the immune system with good bacteria. The most beneficial bacteria belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Supplementation with a quality probiotic is best. Food sources are in yogurt and fermented foods.
If your child gets a cold or flu, then you can look into adding elderberry syrup and echinacea such they are immune stimulants. Studies show that elderberry supplementation reduces the duration of a cold or flu.
Stay away from the kid's vitamins that resemble candy and have added sugar to them. Taking large amounts of vitamins exceeding the recommended daily amount can be toxic and lead to headaches, nausea, or diarrhea—store supplements out of reach from children.
Other aspects of a healthy lifestyle for your kid and your family is getting enough quality sleep as the immune system needs to function correctly. The best way for your family to maintain a good sleep pattern is to set a bedtime routine and stick to it.
Keep in mind that kids need even more sleep anywhere from eight to 14 hours a night, depending on a kid's age. Always practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Please remember to stay hydrated. So many people I see in my practice are dehydrated, and it leads to a multitude of illnesses.
Did you know that hydrating helps your body to fight off colds, flu, virus, and flush out bacteria? Maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance is essential to healthy living. Avoid sugar- laden drinks because sugar wreaks havoc on your gut health and immune system.
I recommend KidsLuv to all my clients no matter their age !I searched high and low to find a beverage for my family and clients. KidLuv is the first Zero Sugar, Vitamin, Mineral & Hydrating beverage designed to give kids a healthy dose of the things their bodies need, without harmful sugars, it’s non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten free. It delivers 12 essential Vitamins and Minerals offering Vitamin D, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, and Sodium.
Are you stocked up for a daily dose or two? I am! Remember, your health is worth it because you are worth it.
Nancy Guberti is a Functional Medicine Specialist, Nutritionist, and passionate to empower others to become their health advocate. She is the founder of Total Wellness Empowerment Membership & Podcast, Look and Feel Great Method, and
Raising Achievers & Givers: Positively Powerful Parent program. Learn more & be empowered at nancyguberti.com.