Vitamins are organic compounds or nutrients that we need to live. They are present in the foods that we consume daily and in pills or over-the-counter supplements. In the case of children, vitamins are a very important issue. It is at this stage of life where we develop and grow rapidly. For children to eat a diet rich in vitamins, it is necessary to incorporate a variety of foods into their diet so that none of the vitamins stays out of the dish.
Surely you remember that when you were a child, your parents insisted that you eat your salad and not forget the fruits. It is also likely that you have been told a thousand times in your life that you need vitamins , but you may not know what they are and what they do in the body.
During childhood, we need vitamins to grow and develop, so it is essential to incorporate the foods that contain them to avoid getting sick.
Most of the vitamins are found in food, so just take a healthy and balanced diet to get the daily dose that is needed. In some cases, the pediatrician may recommend a vitamin supplement for certain children due to special circumstances.
Here I tell you what are the essential vitamins and what functions perform in our body to keep it healthy and strong. Take note!
• Vitamin A : it is necessary to have good vision, healthy teeth, mucous membranes, soft tissues and healthy skin membranes. In fact, the vitamin is needed for the heart, lungs and kidneys, among other organs, to work properly. It is also known as retinol because it produces pigments in the retina of the eye. And you need to have a strong immune (defense) system. Found in fortified milk, liver, orange fruits and vegetables (melon, carrot) and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach)
• Vitamins of group B: include vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12 , niacin , folic acid, biotin , pantothenic acid. They are essential for metabolism , or in other words, to help your body have energy and release it when necessary. They also help in the creation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. They are found in whole grains, fish and shellfish; the eggs; chicken and meat; milk and its derivatives; beans (beans, beans) and peas and green leafy vegetables.
• Vitamin C : is essential for body tissues such as the gums and to keep muscles in good condition, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it helps build muscle by synthesizing collagen. In addition, it helps to heal wounds and fight infections. You find it in citrus fruits (orange, tangerine), strawberries (strawberry), broccoli, tomatoes, kiwi and red peppers.
• Vitamin D : It is essential to have strong bones and teeth. In addition, it helps your body absorb calcium. The body can create it when we expose ourselves to the sun, or you can also get it from: fish, fortified milk, egg yolks, liver, fortified cereal.
• Vitamin E : This vitamin protects your cells and your tissues from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that are formed when our body transforms the food we eat into energy. We are also exposed to free radicals in the environment (pollution, cigarette smoke, ultraviolet rays of the sun, etc.). Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It is also important for the health of red blood cells. You can find it in whole grains, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola and olive, nuts and seeds as well as egg yolks.
• Vitamin K: It is responsible for coagulating blood, so there is no bleeding. You can find it in green leafy vegetables, dairy products, broccoli and soybean oil. It is rare that there is vitamin K deficiency because in addition to finding it in the mentioned foods, the body produces it in the intestine.
How can you tell if your children are consuming all the vitamins I just mentioned? Simply make sure your plate is varied . If it looks like a rainbow, you’re on the right track! The variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains and dairy is essential to receive the daily dose of vitamins.
Sometimes, children can become complicated to eat certain foods. It may happen that from one day to the next they stop liking something they once worshiped. But before worrying, it is important that you know that the fact that children do not eat everything, does not necessarily mean they have vitamin deficiencies or that they are poorly nourished. Many foods such as cereal, orange juice and milk are currently fortified with vitamins such as D and other nutrients such as calcium.
However, it is a good idea to consult with the pediatrician in case the child:
- eat very irregularly
- have a growth or development problem
- be allergic to any food
- if you are worried that you stay too long indoors and perhaps do not get enough exposure to the sun to make the vitamin D you need
- If you are vegetarian and / or
- if you have an eating disorder
In those cases, it is very likely that it is necessary to prescribe a vitamin supplement. Check with your pediatrician to tell you what to give, at what dose and for how long. And of course, consult your pediatrician and / or a registered dietitian or a qualified dietitian if you have any questions about your child’s diet.