You want your child to be happy and healthy. Children learn how and what to eat from you, and forming healthy habits during their early years promotes lifelong health. Your child needs proper nutrition for optimal growth and development and healthy eating in childhood can prevent serious health problems down the road, such as obesity, diabetes, nutrient deficiencies, and osteoporosis.
Many children aren’t getting enough of two essential nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. However, they can easily be incorporated into your child’s diet once you know how much of each your child needs and what each does respectively.
Vitamin D has been a hot topic amongst nutritionists recently and has been the focus of much recent research. And unfortunately, most people aren’t getting enough of it. In adults, a deficiency of vitamin D is linked to cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and depression.
Experts agree that vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and strength. Children who aren’t receiving enough vitamin D in their daily diet can develop soft bones, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life.
Calcium works hand-in-hand with vitamin D to help bones grow and stay strong. Additionally, calcium assists with muscle function, blood flow, and heart rhythm. Calcium is stored in bones and if your child’s body isn’t getting enough of it, it will rob some from their bones.
Prior to adolescence, your child’s body will lay down nearly half of the bone mass it will ever have. Calcium and vitamin D are critical to building a foundation for strong bones.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that kids receive 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. This is equivalent to six glasses of milk. Children’s bodies naturally produce the vitamin when exposed to strong sunlight. The necessary daily calcium dose increases as your child gets older, from 500mg at ages 1-3, to 800mg at ages 4-8, and finally with 1,300mg from ages 9-18.
How to Get More Vitamin D & Calcium
Foods rich in vitamin D and calcium include:
- Organic milk
- Orange juice
- Fatty fish: tuna, salmon
By incorporating some of these foods into your child’s daily diet, you can greatly reduce their risk of future health problems. It’s possible to improve your child’s nutrition by increasing their daily intake of calcium and vitamin D. Knowing what each nutrient provides and including nutrient-rich foods in your child’s meals both will go a long way in promoting optimal health.
[About the author: Caitlin Sammons writes for the timetocleanse.com blog. On the blog are a range of practical articles, an interactive ‘time to cleanse’ quiz, advice from experts and information about the Isagenix Cleanse program.]