You read the books, blogs and magazines. You talk to the pediatrician. You follow the guidance. You limit screen time (maybe?). You enroll the kids in activities to engage their bodies, brains and imagination. You ensure they get exercise. You give them lots of healthy options for food but try not to force feed and create food-relationship issues. Parenting is exhausting!
And at the end of the day, your child may still have a common nutritional deficiency! Maybe it’s a lack of willingness on their part to eat the healthy things. (Doesn’t every kid love brussel sprouts, tomatoes and kale?)
Before you throw up your hands in defeat and surrender to a steady diet of Pop-Tarts and candy, take a breath. Then read on. You are not alone!
The first common deficiency in children’s nutrition is calcium. This mineral is essential for healthy bone, muscle and cell growth and maintenance. Calcium also serves as a signaling component in the body. This means it affects your child’s heart, nerves and muscle functions. A lack of sufficient calcium may disrupt these functions.
While a calcium deficiency is not reflected in behavior, as some other deficiencies are, it still has a large and lasting impact on your child’s health and well-being. Not having enough calcium can contribute to a disease known as rickets, especially in children, later resulting in osteoporosis in older adults. A calcium deficiency can lead to soft, fragile bones or stunted growth.
Excellent sources of calcium include:
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Boned fish
Piggybacking with calcium is a deficiency in Vitamin D. Milk and other dairy products are often fortified with Vitamin D because it aids in the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is also important for the absorption of iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphate.
A deficiency in Vitamin D could also contribute to a weaker or compromised immune system, making your child more susceptible to common childhood illnesses. Dental problems, fatigue and muscle cramps may be associated with a Vitamin D deficiency.
Natural ways to ensure sufficient Vitamin D include:
- Sunshine. Yep, good old fashioned, get outside sunlight is an excellent source.
- Fatty fishes, such as salmon and trout
- Egg yolks
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges
- Fortified foods
A nutritional deficiency in iron for children is often the result of one common trait… being a picky eater! Iron is essential to the blood moving oxygen throughout the body. A lack of iron can eventually result in anemia. Symptoms of an iron deficiency in kids can include:
- Brittle nails
- Behavioral issues, including lack of focus and concentration
- Craving non-food items, such as ice, paint, dirt or starch
Incorporating iron into your child’s diet means continuing to offer and encourage healthy foods such as:
- Red meat
- Leafy, dark green veggies
- Iron-fortified foods, including cereals, bread and grains
The final common nutritional deficiency addressed here is zinc. Zinc is a critical mineral for more than 300 functions in the body. This even includes wound healing. (And kids do have a propensity for getting lots of scrapes, cuts and injuries!) Zinc is also important to the brain and immune system, affecting the frequency and severity of illnesses as well as behavioral disorders.
Symptoms of a zinc deficiency may be:
- Delayed wound healing
- Unexplained or easy bruising
- Change in sense of taste or smell
- Delayed puberty
- Challenges controlling emotions
- Poor memory
- Brain fog, lack of focus and clarity
As you can see, zinc really does seem to impact a lot of aspects of a healthy brain and body. Fortunately, many foods are fortified with zinc. Natural sources include:
- Oysters and other shellfish
- Pumpkin seeds and other seeds and nuts
- Dark chocolate
Fighting Back Against Nutritional Deficiencies In Kids
Continue to offer your child a variety of foods to help meet these nutritional deficiencies. And keep in mind that just because your kid’s a picky eater one day and refuses a food, it doesn’t mean they won’t at least try it the next day.
As they see you choose delicious, healthy foods, they may become more inclined to eat them. But if you find yourself still battling nutritional deficiencies and their impact on your child, don’t be afraid to utilize a high-quality multi-nutrient supplement to fill in the gaps. BIPRI’S Children’s Optimal Brain and Body provides these four vitamins and minerals, as well as so many others, to support a healthy body and mind. Use our subscribe and save feature to never run out and get a great discount!