Important nutrients for Australian children
Children’s nutritional requirements can vary widely, depending on the child’s age, rate of growth and level of physical activity. Even though a balanced diet will always play an essential role in the healthy growth and development of your child, many children are fussy eaters, which means they may be missing out on several important nutrients.
Vitamin D: supports healthy bones
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, so it plays an important role in the development, strength and mineralisation of healthy bones. Inadequate vitamin D is more prevalent during the winter months when there is less sunlight available to produce vitamin D. It’s difficult to get good amounts of vitamin D from food sources, so spending some time outdoors in the sun, or taking a vitamin D supplement, can help maintain vitamin D levels in the body. See Children’s Multi Care.
Iodine: supports brain health
Iodine deficiency is the world’s number one cause of poor cognitive development in children. Iodine helps maintain healthy brain and cognitive function and is beneficial for the prevention of a dietary iodine deficiency. See Children’s Fish-i Care.
Calcium: supports strong bones & muscle function
Calcium supports bone health and muscle function in children. Skeletal tissue is constantly growing in children so their requirement for calcium is high and excess intake of soft drinks, or a diet high in fats and sugar, can increase calcium excretion. Adequate dietary calcium during childhood and throughout life is required to maximise bone health. See Children’s Calci Care.
Vitamin B12: supports energy production
Vitamin B12 helps convert foods, such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, into energy for children and supports nervous system health and the production of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Animal-based foods provide a good source of vitamin B12 and if your child restricts these foods, they can find it difficult to get good amounts of vitamin B12 in their diet. See Children’s Multi Care.
Essential fatty acids: support brain health
Children who consume little or no fish in their diet can miss out on important omega-3 fatty acids (FAs), such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). FAs support healthy nervous system, brain and eye function. DHA is an important structural component of the brain. Supplementing with FAs is beneficial for children with a diet low in fish. See Children’s Fish-i Care.
If you think your child may be missing out on any of these important nutrients from their diet, look for good quality supplements that have been specifically formulated with children in mind.