The vital role of vitamins in children’s well-being

The vital role of vitamins in children’s well-being

Vitamins and minerals are vital nutrients that the body requires in small quantities, and their absence can have detrimental effects on health. Combatting this risk of malnutrition involves incorporating foods rich in these essential vitamins into children's diets.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a crucial role in promoting body growth, strengthening immunity, supporting vision, and aiding reproduction. It also contributes to the resilience of membranes in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary systems. Deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to night blindness, poor vision, and decreased survival rates in the face of serious illnesses.

To mitigate the risk of Vitamin A deficiency, parents should ensure their children consume the following foods:

  • Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products
  • Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach, water spinach, horseshoe leaves)
  • Orange and yellow-colored fruits (e.g., pumpkin, sweet potato, mango, papaya, carrot)

Vitamin B1

Essential for a healthy nervous system, Vitamin B1 deficiency can result in a condition known as Beriberi in children, impacting the nerves, muscles, heart, and brain.

To safeguard against such deficiencies, children's diets should include foods rich in Vitamin B1, such as pork, beans, lentils, corn, potatoes, eggplant, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in controlling infections and promoting wound healing. It benefits not only teeth but also gums, boosts the immune system, enhances iron absorption, and supports bone and cartilage health. Deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to symptoms such as swollen and bleeding gums, the development of red or blue spots on the skin, persistent fatigue, weakness, and decreased immunity.

To prevent Vitamin C deficiency in children, ensure a balanced intake of foods rich in Vitamin C, such as juicy citrus fruits (apricots, guavas, plums, grapefruits, lemons, oranges), peppers, and roselle leaves.

For further insights into the importance of minerals for infants and pregnant women, you can explore here.

Adapted from Basic nutrition workshop by UNCDF and IEC materials from LEARN.