Minerals are a key component of complete nutrition your child needs to continue growing and developing. They play a part in so many things, from how your child sleeps to how strong they are. In today's post, we'll talk about five of the most important minerals your child needs and how to be sure they're getting enough.
Which Minerals Are Essential?
Minerals are substances found in the foods we consume that have numerous roles within the body, ranging from building tissues like the bones and teeth to helping the central nervous system operate properly. There are many minerals, some that you need more of, known as macrominerals, and some you don't need as much of, known as trace minerals. These five key minerals children need to help them grow and develop properly and remain healthy:
- Calcium -- Helps the bones develop properly and stay strong, as well as the teeth.
- Magnesium -- Also needed for tissue health as well as the function of the central nervous system.
- Potassium -- Maintains ideal fluid balance within the body, allowing the muscles to contract and relax as they should.
- Iron -- Supports proper circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
- Zinc -- Strengthens the immune system to fight off infection while promoting wound healing.
How to Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough Minerals
Knowing the recommended daily dosage for each essential mineral can help you determine what your child needs (Keep in mind, once they become teenagers, the amount will change as well.). Here are the recommendations from the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, based on age:
- Zero to six months: 200 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 260 mg
- One to three years: 700 mg
- Four to eight years: 1,000 mg
- Nine to 13 years: 1,300 mg
- Zero to six months: 30 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 75 mg
- One to three years: 80 mg
- Four to eight years: 130 mg
- Nine to 13 years: 240 mg
- Zero to six months: 400 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 700 mg
- One to three years: 3,000 mg
- Four to eight years: 3,800 mg
- Nine to 13 years: 4,500 mg
- Zero to six months: 0.27 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 11 mg
- One to three years: 7 mg
- Four to eight years: 10 mg
- Nine to 13 years: 8 mg
- Zero to six months: 2 mg
- Seven to 12 months: 3 mg
- One to three years: 3 mg
- Four to eight years: 5 mg
- Nine to 13 years: 8 mg
The first way to make sure they're getting adequate minerals is through their diet. Here are some of the best food sources for each essential mineral:
- Calcium -- Dark green, leafy vegetables, dairy and fortified foods.
- Magnesium -- Corn, whole grains, legumes and dairy.
- Potassium -- Bananas, legumes, spinach and citrus.
- Iron -- Dark green, leafy vegetables, meat, eggs and beans.
- Zinc -- Meat, beans and nuts.
Beyond diet, your child can take a daily multivitamin, which should also contain these essential minerals. Make sure to check the label to be sure they're included. But what if they still need more?
Using Mineral Supplements Safely
Most children who consume a balanced diet won't become at risk for mineral deficiency. But, it can happen. So, what causes mineral deficiency in children? The main reason is a poor diet, but children who have a restricted diet for one reason or another or have a medical condition that results in poor absorption of minerals from the food they eat can be at risk for deficiency.
Your child's doctor can determine through their routine exam and blood work if your child is lacking in any minerals. If so, they may recommend your child take a mineral supplement for a set amount of time. It's key to follow instructions carefully especially for the exact dosage of the mineral supplement and the duration of treatment. Iron, in particular, can be toxic to children under the age of six in too high a dosage. Your child's doctor will then continue to monitor them while they take the supplement to make sure everything is going smoothly.
Should you need a mineral supplement for your child, you can find a variety of products at eVitamins. Stay well.