Daily requirement of vitamins for Kids: Do they need them and which one?

Vitamins help the body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential Vitamins — Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and Vitamin Bs. Some help in eyesight and energy production. While others support healthy nerves and cells and in fighting infections. The food that kids eat should meet their daily requirement of vitamins.

Daily requirement of vitamins

Vitamins are found in the food we eat. Some like D, K can also be partially produced by our body. A balanced meal full of a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits will meet the daily requirement of vitamins for kids. Nature has packed food in such a way that the nutrition received is well-balanced with complementary nutrients

For example, Nuts have a variety of Vitamin Bs and E. However, for the vitamins to be absorbed efficiently by the body, they have to be consumed with fiber. So consuming the vitamin naturally in the form of the nut itself (vs. a pill) is not only easy but also essential for its maximum absorption by the body. Secondly, consuming vitamins through nuts fairly reduces the chance of over consumption of any vitamins vs. popping pills in the mouth (excessive consumption of any vitamin can have adverse effects on the body organs). Lastly, consuming the nut not only gives us Vitamin Bs and E but a lot more added goodness in the form of fibre and phytonutrients.

While it is usually preferred to get the nutrients a child needs from food rather than a pill, syrup or gummy, it is not always possible. That’s because some kids are picky eaters and their intake of food is limited to a chosen few. This results in a deficiency of some key vitamins (mentioned below) in their body. The solution here is to introduce multivitamins which are made of real food (like nuts, beans, veggies, fruits), in kids most loved formats (e.g. chocolate spread or crisps) and tasty to consume directly or easy to hide in meals.

Vitamin A:
  • It is one of the essential vitamins for kids eyesight, immunity and reproduction of tissues (of skin). The body cannot manufacture this and it needs to be included in the diet and consumed with fat (oil) since it is a fat soluble vitamin. Lightly sautéing carrot in oil becomes a great food supplement for children to meet vitamin A nutrition. This vitamin is heat sensitive so has to be cooked lightly.
Vitamin Bs:
  • These vitamins are required to release energy from food, providing fuel to perform daily activities and supporting brain function. As children grow older, their requirements for this group of vitamins increase to help them cope with more energetic lifestyles. Inadequate intake of Vitamin Bs can lead to anaemia (low haemoglobin production), which may result in tiredness and lethargy. Food sources of Vitamin B like milk, nuts, greens etc should be stored away from direct light, since light can reduce the level of vitamin in the food. It is a best food supplement for children and adults as well to get strong hairs and healthy scalp.
Vitamin C: 
  • Our body does not produce vitamin C and hence it becomes necessary to consume it through foods.Kids should consume a sufficient amount of Vitamin C during growing years to support development of bones and teeth. Vitamin C helps heal the wound as it repairs body tissues. It also helps in absorption of iron in the body. Guava, oranges, papaya, kiwifruit, tomatoes are some food supplements for children to meet daily requirements of this vitamin. (Easiest Vitamin C for kids)
vitamin D:
  • Every single cell in the body requires this Vitamin. Body can also produce this through cholesterol exposure to sunlight. However, deficiency of Vitamin D is common in kids and results in weaker bones and muscles, fatigue, depression, body pain, and extreme hair loss (alopecia). Vitamin D too has to be consumed with fat (oil). For e.g. Cheese has vitamin D and fat both, so it’s a great food supplement for children to meet this nutrition.
Vitamin E:
  • It is an important vitamin that also acts as a powerful antioxidant, which helps to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals (pollution, lifestyle, stress, processed food).Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin which can be stored in the body. It is rarely found deficient in kids who eat nuts, seeds and greens. This vitamin is vital in protecting against any infections and damage to eyes, skin, brain and enables regeneration of cells to keep organs healthy and active.
Vitamin K:
  • It is an important vitamin that promotes healthy bones and supports proper blood clotting (thereby preventing excessive bleeding). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body. This vitamin’s food supplement for children is found in greens, veggies, nuts, seeds, dry fruits. Vitamin K is also produced by the body through good bacteria found in the gut. Any deficiency in this can reflect in excessive bleeding during periods, bruising, oozing from teeth or gums.

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