There are a number of vitamins that are necessary to help your child develop, grow and maintain good health – these are considered essential nutrients as, without them, the body wouldn’t be able to do things like convert food into energy, develop a functioning immune system, create red blood cells or repair cell damage. The easiest way to ensure your child’s nutritional needs are being met is through diet, and choosing foods and beverages that are high in the vitamins and minerals that are important for your child’s overall health, like:
Vitamin A is crucial for normal growth and a healthy immune system – if your child were to suffer from a Vitamin A deficiency, they may be prone to infections. It also plays a role in skin health and eyesight, helping to prevent night blindness.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin A
Yellow fruit and vegetables like carrots and mango, egg yolk, vegetable oil, butter, salmon and liver.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘building blocks of a healthy body’, there are 8 different B vitamins and they all contribute towards ensuring the body’s cells function as they should. These vitamins are necessary for proper brain development in children, for creating the protein haemoglobin in red blood cells, which carries oxygen around the body, as well as the body’s neurotransmitters like serotonin. The most important B vitamins for children are B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamin).
Good dietary sources of Vitamin B
Cheese, milk, eggs, chicken, red meat, fish, citrus fruits, bananas, chickpeas, peanuts, fortified cereals and breads.
Vitamin C plays a role in wound healing and helping your body fight off infection. It also aids in building muscle, collagen and cartilage, and keeps bones, teeth and gums healthy.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin C
Citrus fruits, apples, apricots, pineapple, potatoes, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli and peppers.
If our skin receives enough direct sunlight, our bodies make most of the Vitamin D we need. Vitamin D is necessary to help you absorb calcium, which keeps bones strong – a deficiency can lead to diseases like rickets.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin D
Sunlight, fatty fish like salmon, mushrooms, egg yolk, tinned tuna, liver, spinach and margarine.
Vitamin E is responsible for the development of healthy eyes and skin, and it boosts your immune system. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals and is considered particularly important for the health of babies born prematurely as it may help prevent some of the health problems associated with preterm deliveries, such as anaemia.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin E
Sunflower and canola oils, margarine, broccoli, spinach and nuts.
It is necessary for cardiovascular health, to build healthy bones and to allow your blood to clot. As very little Vitamin K passes through the placenta from mother to child, most babies are given a protective shot at birth. Signs of severe Vitamin K deficiency include easy bruising and excessive bleeding from wounds.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin K
Green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage and spinach, as well as pork, chicken, hard cheeses, avocado and prunes.