Teenage is a period of growth and development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. During this period, the kids grow mentally, physically, and socially all at the same time.
Considering the growth spurt and increase in physical and social activities, it is essential to improve their nutrition. Inadequate nutritional intake can have severe drawbacks on their performance in school and overall health.
Research has shown that poor eating habits which are formed during adolescence can lead to obesity and diet-related diseases in later years. Therefore, establishing and maintaining healthy eating behaviors during adolescence is necessary.
This article will guide you through the significance of vitamins in the health of adolescents and the list of vitamins they need.
Significance Of Vitamins
Vitamins are organic substances and are one of the main types of nutrients that are required to maintain our health. Vitamins perform different functions: some support growth and development of the body, some in improving the immune system, and others help in the smooth functioning of body organs.
Essential Vitamins Needed For Teens
Experts have charted 13 essential vitamins as A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins which include B1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin, B5 or pantothenic acid, B6 or pyridoxine, B7 or biotin, B9 or folic acid, and B12 or cobalamin.
🔶 Vitamin A: It helps with the growth and development of the body, vision, immune system, and skin health. Experts say teens require at least 600-900 micrograms of vitamin A per day. Dairy products, vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and pumpkin, and fruits like peaches and mangoes are rich sources of vitamin A.
🔶 Vitamin B: Vitamin B helps in metabolism and cell production. It is found in whole grains, meat, eggs, legumes, fish, cereals, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Vegans and vegetarians are said to be deficient in Vitamin B12 as it can only be obtained from animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. Teens are supposed to have at least 1-3 micrograms of vitamin B per day.
🔶 Vitamin C: It promotes collagen production which is essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and healing wounds. Vitamin C is said to be rich in antioxidants which help boost immunity. The main sources of vitamin C are oranges, grapes, kiwi, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is between 60-75 micrograms for teenagers.
🔶 Vitamin D: It’s a unique essential nutrient that can be produced by the body when exposed to direct sunlight. This vitamin is crucial for bone formation and bone and muscle strength. The common food sources for vitamin D include fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, mushrooms, and fortified cereals. The average vitamin D consumption for teens is 10-15 micrograms per day.
🔶 Vitamin E: It helps in protecting cells from damage and keeping red blood cells healthy. Leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, whole grains, and nuts, are major sources of vitamin E. Required dietary intake of Vitamin E is 15 micrograms for both girls and boys between 13-18.
🔶 Vitamin K: It plays an important role in helping the blood clot and healing wounds. Vitamin K is found in cereals, vegetable oils, and leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli. Teens require 60-75 micrograms of vitamin K per day.
How To Get These Vitamins Other Than Food?
Not all teenagers need to take vitamin supplements. That is if they are healthy and following a balanced diet, they won’t be in need to depend on supplements. And it is recommended to get the nutrients from food, rather than supplements.
However, some teenagers struggle to meet their needs due to their busy school and social commitments, leading them to deficiency in certain vitamins. Also, it is commonly observed that most kids are picky eaters. This prevents them from getting the required amount of vitamins.
So, it is advisable for such children to take vitamin supplements but only after consulting a doctor. It is wise to depend on doctors to prescribe these rather than depending on over-the-counter supplements, they can tell you what supplements and doses are needed and are safe for your kid.
As adolescence is a crucial stage in a person’s growth, it is imperative to get the required vitamins to meet their developmental needs at this stage. Any deficiency in this essential nutrient can hinder the child’s growth and overall health.
Experts have classed essential vitamins into 13 categories and for each of them, we have to follow a daily dietary intake. If the diet is not enough to fulfill these requirements, multivitamin supplements can help in providing the missing nutrients. But we have to check with doctors before taking the supplements.
And we should be mindful that healthy teens can meet these from a healthy balanced diet so it is recommended to parents to make sure that their kids are following one.