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Nutrients for a Healthy Childhood

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays an important role within our vision, bone growth and reproduction. Additionally, it helps us fight infections. Half of these children die within a year to become blind. Vitamin A deficiency also diminishes a child’s ability to fight infections, especially from diarrhea and measles.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency in childhood is assigned to the development of diseases later in life conditions such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, and depression. Vitamin D is required in calcium absorption, maximizing growth and bone strength. Children who get little vitamin D intake vulnerable to soft bones – a condition called rickets. Sources: Sunlight, dairy products, cereals, orange juice and yogurt. For other food sources rich in vitamin D including fatty fish like salmon and tuna healthy.

Folic Acid

Folate/Folic acid is necessary for production of ordinary red blood cells and division of cells. This really is critically important for producing new cells: blood cells, skin cells, hair cells, bone cells, etc. Good food sources: brewer’s yeast, asparagus, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, oranges, root vegetables and legumes.

Zinc

Zinc performs many functions within the body, including healing wounds; tissue growth and repair; proper blood clotting; proper thyroid function; metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, fats and alcohol; fetal development; and sperm production. Zinc has been proven to improve growth rates, while reducing incidences of diarrhea, pneumonia and other infectious diseases. However, greater than 20% of the world’s population could be at risk for zinc deficiency.

Iron

Iron is essential in transporting oxygen throughout our body. Additionally, it helps support cell growth, cognitive development, a strong immune system and physical growth. Based on the World Health Organization, iron deficiency may be the leading nutritional disorder in the world. Around 80% of the world is iron deficient and 30% of people are afflicted by anemia, a severe form of iron deficiency.

Your growing child needs iron to create hemoglobin. Teenage girls particularly need to pay focus on their iron intake as it can be easily depleted each month following menstruation. Avoid cereals which are very high in fiber because they may prevent iron absorption. Instead, take iron sources with vitamin C that helps increase absorption. Some good food sources for iron: asparagus, eggs, fruits, fish, leafy green vegetables, prunes, raisins and whole grains.