And Minerals For Toddlers
The period in a child's development between one and three years of age can often be a difficult one - particularly when it comes to eating. Food and nutrients are the building blocks which help to form strong teeth and bones, muscles and healthy tissues. A good diet can also help to protect against illness.
Important nutrients for toddlers
Vitamins for health
Particularly important vitamins are A, C and D.
Vitamin A is needed for:
boosting immunity, and
Vitamin A can often be lacking in the diets of toddlers.
Vitamin C is important for:
the immune system,
helping wounds to heal,
healthy bones, and
It also helps in the absorption of iron, especially iron from non-meat sources. Vitamin C intakes are often low in children who don't eat much in the way of fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin D is:
- essential for the absorption of:
- necessary for the assimilation of vitamin A,
- necessary for the health of the bones and teeth,
- necessary for the metabolism of calcium and magnesium, and
- required for kidney function.
Vitamin D can be synthesised through the action of sunlight on the skin. In winter, and if your child is always covered if outside, make sure you include dietary sources of vitamin D, along with supplements (in tablet or liquid form) that contain this vitamin.The B group vitamins are very important, particularly B6 which is:
necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12,
- required for the production of antibodies and red blood cells,
required to absorb zinc,
- essential for the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fats, and
- necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acid.
Minerals for health
The minerals iron, calcium and zinc are all needed by the growing toddler.
- necessary for the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells and certain enzymes,
- necessary for immune activity,
- required to supply oxygen to the cells, and
- required by the liver.
Iron-deficiency is common in toddlers as iron requirements are high but dietary intake is often low, especially if little or no meat is eaten. If your toddler is listless, irritable, tires easily, yawns all the time and is very pale, then it may be a good idea to have them checked for anaemia.
- necessary for the action of the muscles,
- required by the brain and the nervous system,
- necessary for blood clotting,
- necessary for strong bones and teeth,
- necessary for cell structure, and
- required for the body to absorb vitamin B12.
The recommended intake of calcium for this age group is 800 mg a day. Requirements will be met as long as the child consumes enough food sources of calcium. Good sources of dietary calcium are shown below.
- required for most body processes, including energy production,
- required to bind calcium to the teeth and bones,
- required for the contraction and relaxation of muscles (including the heart),
- required for growth and repair, and
- necessary for bone development.
Magnesium deficiency in young children has been associated with hyperactive behaviour.
- required for growth, energy metabolism, and immunity,
- necessary for insulin storage,
- required for carbon dioxide transportation,
- necessary for making the collagen in the body, including the bones, and
- necessary for vitamin A metabolism and distribution.