You know that vitamins are necessary for a healthy immune system, but do you know which vitamins you need, how to get them, and how they actually work? Unless you work in health care as a doctor or a dietician, you probably don’t know all the details. Why would you? As a parent, you have tons of other things to worry about like laundry, grocery shopping, homework, and everything in between! You shouldn’t have to spend your valuable free time doing in-depth research into the mechanics of nutrition – that should be left to the professionals! Thankfully, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about vitamins for kids, specifically the best vitamins for children’s immune systems.
Vitamins That Benefit Children’s Immune Systems
There are so many different vitamins and minerals out there that are essential for a strong and healthy body. Every vitamin works in different ways to provide different benefits. One important benefit of select vitamins is immune support. The immune system protects the body against diseases and fights infections, so a strong immune system is a key factor in staying healthy, avoiding illnesses, and guarding against viruses and bacteria. Some key parts of the immune system include white blood cells, t cells, b cells, phagocytes, and killer cells. These immune cells are especially important for kids, who might not have full immunity due to various illnesses, making them more likely to get sick as a result. Let’s be honest, young children don’t always practice good hygiene either, and are constantly looking for new things to get into at home and at daycare.
That being said, there are certain vitamins that have been shown to provide immune support and can help keep your kid as healthy as possible:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been shown to boost the immune system. Vitamin C deficiency can cause many problems for a child and can lead to them getting sick more often because the body doesn’t naturally produce or store Vitamin C. The good news is that Vitamin C is found in so many different food sources. Including citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that has been shown to help the body fight off infections, and is an integral part of the immune system. Vitamin E is found in spinach, broccoli, as well as nuts and seeds.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 plays a huge role in supporting the immune system by supporting biochemical reactions. You can find Vitamin B6 in foods like chicken, fish, green vegetables, and chickpeas.
- Zinc: Rather than a vitamin, Zinc is a mineral that has been shown to strengthen the immune system and may help heal wounds and support growth. Zinc is found in foods like yogurt, baked beans, shellfish, and different kinds of red meats.
Other Strategies to Stay Healthy
While i boosting your immune system through vitamins is a great way to fend off invading bacteria and viruses, vitamins alone won’t completely prevent illnesses. While there’s no surefire way to prevent every illness, there are some other things that you can do to decrease the chances that your child will get sick:
- Teach your children good hand-washing habits. Most germs are spread from a surface to your hands, and then into your body when you touch your face. Stopping your kid from touching their face all the time is a difficult task. Instead, make sure that they are washing their hands frequently with soap and water to decrease the chance that germs on their hands will be transferred to their face and into their body.
- Make sure that your children get enough exercise on a regular basis. In an era of screens and technology, it’s more important than ever for kids to get outside and play for at least 30 minutes a day.
Make sure that children are getting enough sleep every night. Sleep schedules vary between children and by age, and naps may or may not work for your individual child, but you should be following these general guidelines to make sure that your child is well-rested and maximizing immunity:
- Children aged 3-5 should get between 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night
- Children aged 6-13 should get between 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night
Additional Vitamins That Kids Need
Vitamins C, E, B6, and zinc are shown to be important for children’s immune systems, but there are other vitamins that are beneficial and even necessary for kids for a variety of reasons:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A has been shown to boost immunity, improves eyesight, and grows cells throughout the body. You can find it in foods like kale, carrots, and squash
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 may help with sleep and memory. It is found in banana, liver, and milk.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been shown to help to strengthen bones and reduce illnesses. You can get amounts of Vitamin D from food sources like mushrooms, oranges, and fish as well as natural sunlight!
- Calcium: Calcium has been shown to help build strong bones and helps kids grow big and tall. Good sources of calcium include broccoli, collard greens, and kale.
- Selenium: Selenium may benefit sleep and mood and also has been shown to reduce harmful inflammation. You can find amounts of selenium in tuna and mushrooms.
- Riboflavin: Riboflavin is a B vitamin that has been shown to benefit eye health, boosts energy, and promotes healthy cell growth. You can find it in foods like spinach, bananas, and asparagus.
- Manganese: Manganese or magnesium may help improve sleep, mood, and concentration for a happier and healthier kid. Avocados, spinach, and bananas are good sources of magnesium.
- Iodine: Iodine has been shown to impact your metabolism, growth, and development. Foods like kelp and eggs are rich in iodine.
How to Get Your Child Enough Vitamins
Making sure that your kids get enough vitamins is extremely important, but it can also seem like a lot of work! One way that your child can obtain all of the necessary vitamins for growth and development is to eat a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. Making sure to incorporate all of the different food groups from grains, dairy, meats, and fruits and veggies is vital to a balanced diet. However, this is often easier said than done because kids are notoriously picky eaters and might not want to eat these healthy foods which are packed with the vitamins that they need to protect their immune system. Some kids aren’t able to eat these food items at all either due to an allergy or a restricted diet.
In these cases, one of the best ways to ensure that your child gets all of the vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy immune system and a healthy body overall is through a vitamin supplement. There are vitamins out there specifically made for kids – you might even remember taking one as a child! However, children’s vitamin supplements have really come a long way over the past few decades. Gummies are no longer considered the best form of vitamin for kids because they often contain a lot of extra sugar, preservatives, and fillers. Instead, look for a vitamin that is sugar-free and naturally sweetened, like the vitamins made by Hiya. The best way to make sure that your kid gets enough vitamins is to find a complete multivitamin supplement that is well-researched and contains the nutrients your kids need so that you don’t have to worry about supplementing anything on top of trying to get them to eat healthy in the first place. Parents already have enough to do! A complete multivitamin gives you the peace of mind that your child gets the essential nutrients they need from a single vitamin.
Things to Know About Kids’ Vitamin Supplements
It’s important to find a quality children’s vitamin that is actually healthy. Many vitamins contain added sugar, chemicals, fillers, and preservatives that aren’t very beneficial to your child, and can actually counteract the entire point of taking a vitamin in the first place, so make sure to find a kids’ vitamin that is made from real foods, and combines organic fruits and vegetables with the best forms of vitamins specifically for children. These products should also be reputable and backed by experts like pediatricians and scientists to make sure that your child is getting the right form and amount of each vitamin that they need. Getting extra amounts of vitamins isn’t necessarily a good thing even though vitamins are good themselves. This also means that you should talk with your child about what a vitamin is, and emphasize the fact that vitamins aren’t candy in order to discourage them from taking more than the recommended amount.
At the end of the day, every parent wants the best for their child and would do anything to make sure that their child is as healthy as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult task to boost your child’s immune system and prevent them from getting sick all the time! All it takes is a little bit of research on your end to find a great children’s multivitamin, like the ones from Hiya, to really give your child a boost when it comes to immunity, growth, and development.
*The FDA plays a specific role in regulating nutraceuticals and for all companies requires the following disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.