Vitamins are the “brains” behind the brawn of macronutrients. Without them, your child is unable to keep their body and brain functioning to its maximum potential.
Vitamin A gives your child healthy skin and is crucial for healthy vision. It can be found as retinol in foods of animal origin – such as liver meat, cheese and eggs – and as beta-carotene in yellow-orange vegetables.
B Vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3) are important for overall bodily functions and help your child to make energy out of food.
Vitamin B5 is key for your child’s memory development and anti-stress abilities. Vitamin B6 is needed for hormone production and for serotonin creation. The final B vitamin which is fundamental for your child’s health, is Vitamin B12, as it helps the blood carry oxygen around the body and is needed for DNA creation.
The essential vitamin required for brain and nerve functions is Folic acid. It aids your child’s body in using protein and in forming red cells. The combination of folic acid, B6 and B12 control a vital cog in the machine of neurotransmitter formation. This golden trio is also important in managing homocysteine levels; elevated homocysteine levels have links to cardiovascular problems and even osteoporosis. Good sources of all B vitamins include grains, vegetables and pulses.
Biotin is the most important vitamin for healthy skin, hair and nerves. Without it, children will experience dry skin, poor hair condition, sore muscles, and in extreme cases nausea and eczema or dermatitis. Biotin is found in all grains, oats, barley, spinach, watercress and many more vegetables.
The most important vitamin that should be in your child’s diet is Vitamin C. It is well known for its amazing infection fighting abilities, but Vitamin C also helps with collagen creation in the skin, bones and joints and works like an antioxidant. Vitamin C is found in fresh, organic fruits such as broccoli, kiwis, peppers, and of course – oranges.
Arguably the most diverse vitamin that your child needs, is Vitamin D. It is known as the “sunshine vitamin”, and is most famous for promoting healthy bones and teeth, but recent studies have found that it contributes to mood and cardiovascular health – even cancer prevention!
The antioxidant Vitamin E is vital for skin and immune health. It protects cells and essential fats from damage and can be found in foods such as seeds, seed oils, wheat germ and oily fish.
The final letter in the vital vitamin alphabet is Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. A Vitamin K deficiency can lead to easy bruising and haemorrhaging. Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and potatoes contain Vitamin K, but the main source is your child’s own gut flora. Create a wholefood diet for your child, which is abundant in fibre rich foods such as vegetables, pulses and oats – the fermentation process of this fibre in the gut produces vitamin K.