Being a parent of a young child can be quite a challenge. Making sure they get everything they need to maintain their health is an important part of parenting. While it may seem like a simple statement, most parents of young children know just how many areas this includes.
Since young children are completely reliant upon their parents to help them stay healthy, that means their diet, sleep patterns, school and social life must be monitored and guided.
With all of the important health and growth patterns parents need to focus on, diet is one area where a parent can make a significant difference in how healthy their children are as adults. A good diet not only helps kids stay healthy, it also plays a major role in how well their bodies grow. That’s why parents need to ensure their children get all the right foods to help them stay healthy and grow properly.
While some people give little credence to the need for vitamins, most nutritionists, physicians, and researchers agree that lack of certain vitamins can have a significant and adverse effect on health. Today, there is a substantial amount of research proving that certain vitamins play a key role in overall health for people of all ages.
One of those vitamins is vitamin C. Of all of the vitamins, vitamin C has a tremendous impact on a person’s overall health, and it can be especially important in maintaining children’s health.
The Health Impact of a Vitamin C Deficiency
Because vitamin C has such a broad impact on the body and cellular maintenance, it serves as a significant aid for children’s health as they grow. Vitamin C is known to help boost the immune system and protect the body against a whole range of ailments. It is an antioxidant and is needed to help the body form collagen. In addition, vitamin C is needed to help build tendons and ligaments and is vital in helping the body make new skin, repair and maintain blood vessels, and improve mood. It is also used to aid in the repair and maintenance of bones, teeth, and cartilage. When the body has a wound, vitamin C is a key part of the body’s defense to help the wound heal and the body to form scar tissue.
Additionally, because children are at an increased risk of contracting viruses, colds, and infections, vitamin C is a crucial part of keeping their immune systems strong to ward them off. As noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic, a lack of vitamin C as can cause a whole host of problems for the body, including gingivitis, bleeding gums, decreased ability to fight off infections, decreased ability to heal from wounds properly, dry and splitting hair, dry skin, and an increase in bruising.
Good Sources of Vitamin C
There are many great sources for vitamin C that can be included in a child’s diet to help them stay healthy. These include:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, blackberries, grapefruit, watermelon, strawberries, lemons, pineapples)
- Vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, summer squash, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes)
- Carrageenan (dried seaweed)
- Fruit juices
- Vitamin C supplements (tablets, lozenges, pills)
While not as common today, a significant lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Predominant before the Colonial period, scurvy can involve symptoms such as gum disease, poor wound healing, mood disorders, decrease in red blood cells, and even death from infection or excessive bleeding. Today, scurvy is more common in developing nations, but in America, it is estimated that between 38% and 40% of people today are vitamin C deficient – though usually not at high enough levels to cause scurvy.