Let’s start with the question, why do kids need vitamin D (the sunlight vitamin)?
Well, they need vitamin D for growth and development of their bones. Even babies need it while in their mother’s womb. It’s that important. Plus it also helps in calcium absorption. Serious vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, hypoglycemia, delayed motor development, pain, ache, muscle weakness, and fracture.
Did you know 80 percent of vitamin D is formed by our skin, when it comes in contact with sunlight? But due to changing times, kids are either not exposed that much to outdoor activities or are wearing too much clothes or get dark complexion etc. Basically they are not absorbing much sunlight. (Hence most of them are deficient).
But this latest research about vitamin D will most likely blow your mind.
According to a research carried out in Toronto on pre-schoolers (one to five years of ages), published in PLOS ONE, there was a significant link between vitamin D levels, and non-HDL cholesterol (Non-HDL cholesterol is a cardiovascular health marker).
Dr. Jonathan Maguire, the study author, a pediatrician at St. Michael’s concluded that higher the vitamin D level in the kids, the lower will be Non HDL cholesterol, thus less chances of getting cardiovascular disease in the adulthood of that child.
Based on these findings I recommend you to follow my below given guidelines to raise the vitamin D level in your toddlers. Since heart disease can easily be averted, and you as a parent might doubly be in need to introduce these dietary changes if heart disease runs in your family.
But first, read this:
Adult Research Backs The Findings:
Plus, according to the studies published in “the American Academy of Pediatric” in adults, vitamin D is associated with prevention of autoimmune disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and on the whole, it boosts-up your immune system.
So, limited children studies, and extensive adult studies support the preventive role of vitamin D. You may wonder why wait?! Good!
But first, I advise you to get the vitamin D levels checked of your child. Being a functional medicine expert, holistic nutrition therapist, and integrative nutrition health coach. I know, it’s very important to know the numbers!
If they are below the normal limits then try these dietary changes. Otherwise, it can lead to constipation, fatigue, irritability, muscle weakness, dehydration, kidney stones, and hypercalcaemia. The children under 5 should have vitamin D between 1,500 to 3,000 IU (I have doubled these due to various health benefits but you need to confirm your child dosage according to his/her age to avoid vitamin D in toxicity that you will know after screening of the vitamin D results).
Now, let’s discuss about ways to increase vitamin D levels in your kid’s diet. That’s very easy then you think. All you need to do is to try to give them more eggs, oily fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines, mushroom, and fortified cow milk products with vitamin D added.
You might say that it is not that easy to give them such foods as it is not their favorite choices. Then don’t fret. I will also guide you to introduce vitamin D fortified foods for your picky eaters.
So, here goes:
- Give them fortified milk with cereals or weetabix in breakfast.
- Use fortified milk as your soup or broth- base instead of water. Make them creamy, and rich.
- Give them fortified flavored yogurt cooled in popsicles moulds instead of ice-cream or ice-lolly.
- Give them smoothies made out of fortified milk or yogurts, and fruits.
- Make their deserts from fortified milk like pudding or custards.
- Give them fun-shaped sandwiches filled with cheese and eggs plus salad.
- Even some cereals and cereal bars are fortified. Read the labels wisely. So, look out!
- Give them fortified orange juice. Do label reading to find the suitable brand.
These are simple and fun ways to present nutrient rich diet to your toddlers. However, supplementation of cod liver oil is another way to ensure that your kid is getting his daily quota of vitamin D.
So, in my above mentioned blog, I have explained to you the functions of vitamin D, its health benefits, repercussions of its deficiency, and over-dosage. But the most important point I have conveyed to you is that how you as a parent could stop cardiovascular disease formation in your child. Yes, this childhood low vitamin D level is an accurate indicator of possibility of development of heart disease in your child. So, be wise, and follow my recommendations to curtail any future health problem. But first, get the child tested for vitamin D. If it is low, then you now know what to do next!