Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. During childhood, growth and development occurs at a very rapid rate so it’s important to ensure that your child receives the right level of nutrients to support their health and vitality, whichever growth stage they’re at.
Top 5 nutrients to support healthy growth and development in children
Your child’s nutritional requirements can vary widely, depending on their age, rate of growth and their level of physical activity. Beginning in the early stages of life, the right balance of nutrients is important to support good physical and mental development and long-term health in children. While a child’s diet should provide all the vitamins and minerals they need, often fussy eating habits or food allergies or intolerances can mean a child isn’t obtaining the recommended intake of certain vitamins and minerals each day.
In children, the following nutrients play an important role in healthy growth and development:1. Vitamin D: healthy bones, teeth and muscles
Vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium, making it a key nutrient in the development of healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also an important nutrient for muscle health, supporting muscle strength in growing children. Low vitamin D levels are more prevalent during the winter months when children wear greater clothing and there is less sunlight available to produce vitamin D. It’s difficult to get good levels of vitamin D from food sources, so spending some time outdoors in the sun, or taking a vitamin D supplement, will help ensure adequate vitamin D levels.2. Vitamin C: healthy immune function & skin
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and a key nutrient for immune health in children, helping their immune systems to fight illness. Vitamin C is not stored in the body, meaning it is required in the diet through regular consumption of fruits and vegetables, which can be a problem for children who may be fussy eaters. Vitamin C is also required for maintaining healthy skin.3. Iodine: brain & eye health
Iodine helps maintain healthy brain and cognitive function in children and supports nervous system and thyroid health. Supplementation with iodine is beneficial for the prevention of a dietary iodine deficiency in children.4. Omega-3s: brain health
Many children are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) in their diet. Fish oil provides eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) FAs. FAs are required for healthy brain function and DHA is an important structural component of the brain and helps maintain healthy eye function. Supplementing with FAs is beneficial for children with a diet low in fish.5. Calcium: strong bones
Calcium supports strong bones and tissue in children. It’s thought that around 50% of children in Australia don’t consume enough calcium in their diets and excess intake of soft drinks, or a diet high in fats and sugar can increase calcium excretion. Adequate dietary calcium during childhood and throughout life is required to maximise bone health.
If you think your child may be missing out on any of these important nutrients from their diet, look for good quality supplements that have been specifically formulated with children in mind. A children’s multivitamin and mineral formula, calcium or fish oil formula provides some of these important nutrients to children during the critical stages of growth and development.
Published by Herbs of Gold.