The Argument For Children’s Supplements

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Parents are often told that a child will get everything they need from a healthy balanced diet, but this is an ideal grounded to two, often unrealistic, assumptions.

In this blog, nutritional therapist Jenny Logan explains why many nutritionists now recommend children’s supplements to support this period of development and provide added nutritional support.

Parents are often told that a child will get everything they need from a healthy balanced diet. However, this is an ideal which relies on two assumptions:

  1. That a child will be prepared to eat everything which is placed in front of them – something which is not often the case.
  2. That parents will always have the time to produce every meal from scratch, using only fresh, unprocessed ingredients – again, often an unrealistic expectation.

Furthermore, whilst everyone can agree that vitamins and minerals are not a substitute for a healthy diet, the following questions have to be considered:

  • How many of us eat the amount of fruit and vegetables we are meant to?
  • PLUS What is the quality of the food we do eat?

Even if we do manage to get our child to eat everything we place in front of them, using those fresh ingredients – can we be sure that the foods we are serving up really do contain all the nutrients they are supposed to? Many studies have shown that even the best diets can fall short, due to a reduction in the nutritional value of the foods we buy. Processing, storing and cooking foods can often deplete nutrients, and soil analysis over the last 80 years has shown up to a 75% decline in nutrients such as zinc and magnesium.

The truth is that not one of us is likely to manage to eat a truly balanced diet. The British Dietetic Association carried out a survey of 21,000 people in the UK and found that not one person in that study was achieving the RDA for all basic nutrients.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) anyone who falls into the following categories could benefit from a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement:

  • People who eat less than 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • People whose diet does not include wholegrain, low fat dairy AND small servings of lean meat, poultry or fish, every day.
  • People on a low-calorie diet (less than 1200 per day)
  • People who are vegetarian or vegan
  • People who are lactose intolerant
  • People with food allergies
  • Women of childbearing age
  • People over 60
  • People with a history of heart disease

This obviously covers most of the population, which is why JAMA recommends a daily multi vitamin and mineral âs to provide a proven bridge between what we should eat and what we actually eat.

Many nutritionists believe that, taking all this into consideration, combined with the fact that childhood is a time of great growth and development and therefore huge nutritional demands, there is a very strong argument for children’s supplements – helping to fill nutritional gaps left by a less than ideal diet.

Look out for my next blog, where I will be discussing one supplement which has gained a vast amount of interest and research in recent years – Vitamin D. Natures Aid produce two sugar free ranges of children’s supplements, to provide nutritional support for children aged under 12 years.

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