Children’s Vitamins and Minerals: Importance, Facts and Benefits

Vitamins' and Minerals' importance

Vitamins and minerals are important for growing children as they provide all the essential nutrients required to support a child’s activities and development as he grows.

Human body is not capable of manufacturing the vitamins necessary for healthy development, which is why they must be supplemented via healthy diet. There are various vitamin and mineral-rich foods that are easily available in market such as milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, strawberries, mangoes, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables and more. These can be cooked as delicious meals for fussy eaters to provide the required nutrition.

Importance of Vitamins

Vitamin A for Toddlers –

Vitamin A is important for toddlers as it helps in the development of cells and tissues in the body.

1. Benefits

  • Strengthens eyesight
  • Improves skin, nails and hair
  • Helps in growth and development of bones
  • Strengthens immune system and fights infections

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 300 micrograms
  • 4 years and above – 400 micrograms

3. Sources

Milk, cheese, eggs, orange and veggies such as carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A.

4. Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin A can lead to a medical condition called xerophthalmia. Dry skin is one of the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, while it also increases the risk of diseases and death from severe infections.

Vitamin B for Toddlers –

The family of B Vitamins are helpful in improving metabolism and production of energy in the body.

1. Benefits

  • Vitamin B1 helps in releasing energy from food and proper functioning of nervous system.
  • Vitamin B2 helps in the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin B3 helps in the absorption of food and promotes growth.
  • Vitamin B6 helps in the breakdown of proteins into energy, brain functioning and also RBC production.

2. Sources

Milk, meat, cheese, yeast, nuts, eggs, fish, beans, wholemeal breads, whole grain foods and cereals are some Vitamin B rich foods. In order to gain benefits of vitamin B, all types of B vitamins need to function in tandem with each other and it is vital to obtain all types of B vitamins in proper amounts.

3. Deficiency

A diet deficient in different types of B vitamins can cause the nervous system to function poorly in children and adults alike. It affects their ability to learn, poor memory, moodiness, confusion etc. Skin conditions like dry skin and oily skin, acne can be the signs of vitamin B deficiency.

Vitamin C for Toddlers –

Vitamin C is essential for healthy muscle and tissue growth as well as improves the skin.

1. Benefits

  • Helps in building collagen
  • Fights against infections
  • Absorbs iron from food
  • Keeps teeth, bones and gums healthy

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 15 milligrams
  • 4 years and above – 25 milligrams

3. Sources

Orange, kiwi, strawberry, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and other citrus foods are rich sources of Vitamin C.

4. Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy that leads to formation of brown spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from all mucous membranes.

Vitamin D for Toddlers –

Vitamin D aids in regulating the immune system, production of insulin and growth of cells in the body.

1. Benefits

  • Helps in absorption of calcium
  • Keeps bones and teeth strong and healthy

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 10 micrograms
  • 4 years and above – 15 micrograms

3. Sources

Sunlight, oily fish, egg yolks and butter are good sources of Vitamin D.

4. Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin D leads to rickets in children that weakens the bones and also causes diseases related to bones.

Vitamin E for Toddlers –

Vitamin E helps fight against germs and ensures free blood flow through the vessels.

1. Benefits

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Helps in the development of eyes and healthy skin

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 6 milligrams
  • 4 years and above – 7 milligrams

3. Sources

Sunflower and canola oils, margarine and nuts are some Vitamin E rich foods.

4. Deficiency

Severe deficiency of Vitamin E in toddlers can cause chronic lever disease, slow growth, mild anemia, muscle weakness dryness of skin and hair, drooping upper eyelid, leg cramps etc.

Importance of Minerals

The two most vital minerals for the healthy growth of children are iron and calcium.

Calcium for Toddlers –

1. Importance

  • Helps in building strong bones and teeth
  • Helps in healthy functioning of nerves and muscles in the body
  • Is vital for blood clots
  • Helps in converting food into energy

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 500 milligrams
  • 4 years and above – 800 milligrams

3. Sources

Milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu and calcium-fortified orange juice are some rich sources of calcium.

4. Deficiency

Deficiency of calcium can cause bone development problems like bow legs in kids. Moreover, it can cause muscle cramps, numbness, poor appetite, paresthesia (burning or prickling sensation), petechiae (formation of tiny red dots due to bleeding under the skin).

Iron for Toddlers –

1. Importance

  • Vital for making haemoglobin and myoglobin
  • Necessary for avoiding anaemia
  • Helps in the development of the brain

2. Daily Amount

  • 1 to 3 years old – 7 milligrams
  • 4 years and above – 10 milligrams

Daily Amount

Extra Vitamin and Mineral Supplements – Good or Bad?

Excess of everything is bad and excess of nutrition is also bad. Overdose of vitamins and minerals can be dangerous for kids as the fat soluble vitamins become toxic if taken in large amounts. Your child requires tiny amount of vitamins and minerals that can easily be obtained from his every day diet. It is best to let your child eat a variety of nutrition-rich foods than taking tablets or pills, unless prescribed by the doctor. This is because supplements cannot replicate all the goodness and nutrition provided by whole foods. But since kids are not exactly enthusiastic feeders, sometimes they need the external sources of vitamins/minerals to compensate the deficit they may be facing. You may choose to give your toddler supplements with the advise of his doctor. Be careful and selective while choosing and administering the supplements for your child.