Essential Vitamins and Minerals Every Growing Child Needs

A bunch of nutritious foods
Summer vacation is now officially in full swing. Cookouts, the ice cream man, and running to and from the pool, beach, or camp might make fitting in a proper meal difficult. Healthy eating is crucial for everyone, but for children, it’s especially important that they get their recommended daily allowances of bone-growing, muscle-strengthening, vitamins and minerals.

Here are some essential nutrients and their natural sources to help your child stay healthy this summer:

Girl holding a basket of fruits and veggies

Vitamin A – One of the best vitamins for overall oral health is vitamin A. It helps keep saliva flowing and promotes a healthy mucous lining in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, making them less susceptible to infection and disease. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes, and fish.

Vitamin C – A potent antioxidant that helps heal gums, vitamin C fights inflammation. It helps the body produce collagen, which helps with cell repair and speeds the healing process. Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, and kiwi.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps your intestines absorb more calcium and helps make bones and teeth dense and strong, preventing fractures. Foods rich in vitamin D include eggs, fish, and dairy products like cheese and fortified milk.

Vitamin E – One of nature’s greatest antioxidants, Vitamin E has also been linked to the prevention of periodontal disease by decreasing inflammation in the mouth. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, fish, and avocado.

Calcium – Calcium is an essential mineral for a developing body. Calcium helps the body build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Calcium is found in dairy products like milk and cheese. Cheese is especially important because it contains casein, a protein that helps strengthen tooth enamel!

Iron – Iron helps maintain your red blood cell count so your body can fight disease and infection. Foods rich in iron include eggs, seafood, red meats, bread, green leafy vegetables, and enriched cereals.

Mom feeding her daughter a bite of fruit salad

Magnesium – Magnesium plays a critical role in building healthy teeth and bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, whole grains, beans, seeds, and dark leafy vegetables.

Phosphorous – Playing a critical role by naturally protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel, foods rich in phosphorus include red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Potassium – Potassium guards against the weakening of bones like your jaw, but it is also essential to helping your blood clot. Foods high in potassium include legumes, dark leafy green vegetables, squash, yogurt, milk, cheese, mushrooms, bananas, and avocados.

One of the best ways to care for your child’s teeth and bones is to help them get the proper nutrition. During the fast-paced summer months, it might be tempting to reach for something quick or grab fast food, but it’s rarely healthy and doesn’t offer much in the way nutrients. By giving your child proper nutrition they need now, you’ll help give them a lifetime of happy, active summers.

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