Is your child experiencing frequent fatigue or lack of energy that seems unusual for their age? Have you noticed any changes in your child’s skin, such as dryness, rashes, or bruising more easily? Does your child complain of muscle weakness or have difficulty performing physical activities they used to do effortlessly? One possible reason could be vitamin deficiencies. Vitamins are essential nutrients that help our bodies grow and stay healthy. In this blog, we will explore common types and signs of vitamin deficiency in kids and learn about foods that can help boost their vitamin intake. Let’s get started!
Understanding Signs of Vitamin Deficiency in Kids
Vitamin deficiencies in children can be caused by a variety of factors, including a diet deficient in essential nutrients, limited access to a variety of nutritious foods, picky eating habits, digestive issues that interfere with nutrient absorption, certain medical conditions, and insufficient sunlight exposure (for vitamin D deficiency). Furthermore, poor socioeconomic conditions and a lack of knowledge about balanced nutrition can contribute to the prevalence of vitamin deficiencies in children, emphasising the importance of encouraging healthy eating habits and providing access to a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods for optimal growth and well-being.
- Vitamin A Deficiency: Vitamin A is crucial for good vision, healthy skin, and a strong immune system. Kids who don’t get enough vitamin A may have trouble seeing in the dark and become more prone to infections.
- Vitamin C Deficiency: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects our bodies from harmful germs. If kids lack vitamin C, they might catch colds and other illnesses more often.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D helps our bones grow strong and keeps our immune system ready to fight off infections. Not enough vitamin D can lead to weak bones and a higher risk of getting sick.
- Vitamin B Deficiency: Vitamin B is like a team of superheroes that support our energy levels and help us stay happy and focused. Without enough vitamin B, kids might feel tired, moody, and find it hard to concentrate.
Methods for preventing vitamin deficits in children:
1. Provide a range of nutrient-dense foods:
Fruits, vegetables, nutritious grains, lean proteins, and dairy products should all be included in your child’s meals and snacks.
2. Encourage the use of coloured plates:
A colourful variety of fruits and vegetables will provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
3. Teach your child the value of good eating:
Describe the advantages of various vitamins and how they help to maintain their bodies robust and healthy.
4. Involve them in dinner preparation:
Allow kids to assist in the selection of nutritious meals and in simple culinary activities.
5. Regular Paediatric Exams:
Visit the paediatrician on a regular basis: Routine examinations can assist in identifying any problems and allowing for prompt interventions.
6. Choose fortified foods:
To increase your child’s nutrient intake, choose foods like fortified milk, cereals, and juices that include extra vitamins.
7. Set a good example:
Children frequently copy their parents’ actions, so model good eating habits for them.
7 health foods for kids daily nutrition:
Protein makes up building blocks of organs, muscles, skin and hormones. Our body needs protein to maintain and repair tissues. Meanwhile, children need it for proper growth in their early years too. Fish, poultry, nuts (almond, peanut, cashew, hazelnut), beans, are best choices. A balanced protein rich breakfast is always great for children to start their day. It helps them stay full for longer ideas and hence protein is a must for proper child nutrition. (How to add protein to your diet?)
Health foods for kids must limit fats that are high in saturated fat and avoid trans-fat. Nuts, avocado, seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sunflower seeds) and few oils are the healthiest sources of unsaturated fat. It is good for eye, bones and mental health of child, helps to boost brain and nervous system development, and strengthen the immune system. Encourage your child to eat all these good fats that support kid’s nutrition.
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It is really important to get strong bones and teeth and we get chance to build them only once – throughout childhood and adolescence. Children who get enough amount of calcium in childhood start their adult lives with the strongest bones possible. Mostly calcium is stored in bones and teeth where it supports their structure and hardness, but the body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. Calcium is predominately found in milk and milk based products like cheese. And is also found in smaller quantities in some nuts and seeds. Moreover, few herbs such as shallaki also contains calcium.
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Fibre, starches and sugar are very essential food for healthy diet that body turns into glucose to give energy to function. Carbs that take time to digest and have fibre in them are complex carbs which are found in naturally existing fruits, vegetables, almonds, cashews, hazelnut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds and whole grains.
Vitamin and minerals:
Vitamins and minerals help us to grow, to form bones, muscles, for eyesight, for skin and organs and most importantly help us to fight against infections by building immunity. Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to severe issues related to health. The best way to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamins and minerals for proper growth and development is to provide them with five food groups (fruit and vegetable, complex carbs, dairy, protein and fat).
Ayurveda has the potential to not only correct imbalances in our children, but also to set them on an enduring path toward optimal health and well-being. Thus, ayurvedic herbs must be included in the list of health foods for kids. Ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha, mulethi, brahmi, shallaki and turmeric are great for kids development. Overall, these herbs support immunity, bone strength, brain development and overall growth.
Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body or naturally found in some foods that scavenge or neutralize the effects of cell damage by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Fortunately eating a diet rich in antioxidants or antioxidant rich foods help to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Turmeric, Vitamin E, cocoa, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Selenium, Beta carotene, Lycopene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Manganese, Polyphenols show great antioxidant properties.
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Immunity, Gut health, Digestion, Weight, Brain development, Speech delay, Epilepsy, Eye health, Hormones, Sleep, Hyperactivity, Bones and Overall growth
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