Good nutrition is important for a child’s healthy growth and development. Along with smart food choices, many parents do their best to ensure their children receive their recommended, daily dose of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. But getting your child to eat right all the time can be challenging, as we live in a world filled with foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, and low in nutrients. Today, studies show this scenario has created the dual burden of a population that is overfed but undernourished.
Providing kids with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables along with healthy proteins and whole grains will help them meet many daily nutritional requirements. And to get an extra boost, adding a high-quality multivitamin to a child’s daily diet can help fill any gaps, so you don’t have to worry.
Good Nutrition and Growing Kids
Unlike adults, kids are continuously growing. They tend to experience growth spurts scattered throughout their childhood, but the process in continuous. Their bodies are working hard as their bones are becoming dense and strong, the brain is developing, the heart is growing, and muscles are filling out. Keeping up with their nutritional needs can ensure your child’s body can grow and develop with healthy cells that are less likely to succumb to health problems. The following is a breakdown of the many reasons why kids need balanced nutrition.
Growing Bones – Skeletal and bone development are part of growing, and the right vitamins (nutrients) can ensure healthy bone density and size. Some habits like exercise help develop strong bones, but some habits like soda and sugar consumption, can create a nutrient deficit leaving the body starved for nutrition. Our bones are made of living tissue that requires nutrients like vitamin D and calcium, and a steady supply of the right vitamins and minerals helps bones grow strong.
Brain Development – Our brains are constantly changing and updating, but a child’s brain is more than twice as active than the adult brain. (1) As they learn and grow, the brain is constantly making new connections, which is why learning and stimulation are important. However, nutrition is important too, because iodine, iron and vitamins like A, B12, D and folate are crucial to support brain development.
Immune Health – Kids play with other kids, pets, and dirt. That’s why it becomes even more important they get their daily dose of nutrients to support their immune health. The immune system is a vast network of organs and vessels, but when the body is supplied with adequate amounts of Vitamins A, C, D and E, it has a much better chance at keeping up with an active child and ward off potentially harmful pathogens.
Sugar – While many parents strive to feed their children healthy foods and teach them good habits, treats like cookies or cakes can find their way into your child’s life. When kids consume too many treats or food and drink with hidden sugars, their bodies need more nutrition. Extra nutrition will not stop the effects of unhealthy foods, but it can help limit some of the damage that excess sugar may cause.
Strong Muscles – As a body grows, muscles need fuel for healthy development. While we often think of protein as the nutrient muscles rely on most, they also need vitamin D for growth, biotin to help muscles use protein and vitamin C for fuel. The right nutrition is important, so your child has all the energy they need to play and recover, and if your child is an athlete, proper nutrition becomes even more important. A wide array of vitamins is important for healthy muscle development.
Healthy Means Happy – Good physical health is important for kids to remain healthy and active, but it is also important for their emotional health. In fact, diets that are rich in B vitamins like folate and B-6 are known to help
anyone maintain a positive outlook. On the other hand, a poor diet that is deficient in adequate vitamins and minerals can leave kids feeling tired and cranky.
Top Vitamins for Growing Kids
- Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and to support the immune system. It is mainly found in dairy products and liver as well as some vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Those who cannot tolerate dairy may have a difficult time getting enough of this vitamin.
- B Vitamins include biotin, folate, pantothenic acid, and more. This array of vitamins is important for a healthy body and provides energy that kids need.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant and top vitamin for immune support, but it also contributes to healthy hair and skin, among other things.
- Vitamin D supports strong bones and is important for the growing child.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body and cells from free radical damage. And while we usually don’t think of kids needing this protection, it is just as important for them as it is for adults.
- Iodine supports growing bodies and may support the endocrine system and brain health.
- Zinc is a nutrient found throughout the body and may help support the immune system and metabolism.
Diet is the best source of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that children need, but sickness, stress, and active lifestyles can create a need for more. For those who want to support their child’s health with a multivitamin, it is important to know that ingredients do matter. Not all vitamin sources are created equal and some added ingredients like extra sugar just aren’t necessary.
A multivitamin can be a part of a healthy diet. Organic ingredients and high-quality vitamin sources will provide the extra support and fill in any nutritional gaps that parents often worry about. Keep up with your kid’s nutrition to help them stay happy, healthy and fit.
1 Osawa M, Konishi Y. [Developing the brain–proposal to child neurologists: how to nurture and stimulate brain development]. No To Hattatsu. 2003 Mar;35(2):113-6. Japanese. PMID: 12661091.