Food is the best source of nutrients. Eating regular meals can actually provide the body with all the nutrients most preschoolers need. The key is eating a well-balanced diet – one which has a good mix of all the essential vitamins that the body needs to remain healthy. A balanced diet consisting of foods such as milk, yoghurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, fish and whole grains is ideal.
What Are Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are substances that are found in foods we eat. Our body needs them to work properly especially in children to keep their growth and development milestones on track. The body needs these vitamins in tiny amounts only, and if your child is eating a balanced diet then that should ideally be enough
When it comes to vitamins, each vitamin has a special role to play. Let’s have a look at how many different vitamins are there.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin Bs
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Vitamins are actually of two kinds – Water Soluble and Fat Soluble
Fat Soluble Vitamins are vitamins that are stored in the fat tissues in the body and liver. These vitamins can stay stored in the body for long periods of time. So when the body needs the help of these vitamins special carriers in your body take them to where they’re needed. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-Soluble Vitamins work differently. When you eat foods that have water-soluble vitamins, the vitamins can’t get stored in the body. Instead, they travel through your bloodstream. Whatever the body needs is absorbed and the rest is eliminated via urination. Water-soluble vitamins get destroyed or washed out very easily, so proper storage and preparation of food are very important to retain the vitamin content of food. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble vitamins.
Each vitamin has a role to play in our growth and development
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This fat-soluble vitamin plays a really big part in eyesight. Vitamin A helps you see colours from the brightest yellow to the darkest purple. In addition, it helps your body fight infections by boosting your immune system.
Foods rich in Vitamin A that kids must eat: Milk, cheese, eggs, yellow-to-orange vegetables like carrots, yams, and squash, and leafy greens like spinach
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Vitamin Bs are water soluble and actually, there is more than one – B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid. These are important for all metabolic activities as they help give the body energy needed to complete various chores. The B vitamins are also involved in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Without sufficient oxygen, one’s body cannot function properly.
Foods rich in Vitamin Bs that kids should eat: Whole grains like brown rice and oats, seafood, meat, chicken, eggs, beans, peas, milk and cheese
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This vitamin promotes healthy body tissues, such as gums and skin. Vitamin C is also essential to help heal cuts or wounds that you may have.
Foods rich in Vitamin C that kids should eat: Citrus fruits like oranges, kiwi, bell peppers, strawberries, Indian gooseberry (amla), tomatoes and broccoli.
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This sunshine Vitamin is extremely important for good bone health. It’s also great for forming strong teeth. Vitamin D even lends a hand to an important mineral — it helps your body absorb the amount of calcium it needs.
Foods rich in Vitamin D that kids should eat: milk, fatty fish such as salmon, egg yolks, liver and fortified cereal.
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Vitamin E is essential for protecting your cells and tissues from damage. It is an important fat-soluble vitamin that helps boost immunity and prevents the blood from clotting.
Foods rich in Vitamin E that kids should eat: Sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts, spinach, broccoli and egg yolks.
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The prime responsibility of this vitamin is blood clotting. So if you get wounded, the presence of Vitamin K in the body helps the blood clot and for the bleeding to stop. Supplements for Vitamin K should not be taken without doctor’s advice as this could cause a serious help problem.
Foods rich in Vitamin K that kids should eat: Leafy green vegetables, milk, yoghurt, broccoli, meats and cheese.
Important: Please consult your paediatrician/nutritionist before introducing new foods to your child.
This post is written in association with Nestle Start Healthy Stay Healthy.