As teens, our food habits are governed not actually by the nutritional value they possess but by their capacity to satisfy our taste buds. However, as parents, we need to keep a check that our kids consume a diet rich in nutrition. Vitamins and minerals are a building block for the human body owing to the multiple roles they perform. You need to have these in balance though. Having a balanced healthy diet is the only way to supply the body with these in sufficient quantities.
Essential nutrients for teenagers
Your body works without pause to produce skin, muscle, bones and produce red blood cells. However, to do this it needs certain raw materials including at least 30 vitamins, minerals as well as dietary components. It is not easy for a body to manufacture all of these by itself in sufficient amounts.
Need for vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals strengthen bones, heal wounds, and boost your immunity. Also, these convert food into energy besides repairing cellular damage. Vitamins and minerals together are known as micronutrients, deficiency of which guarantees disease. It’s better to elaborate with a few examples:
- Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy
- Deficiency of vitamin A causes blindness
- Deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets
- Excess of B6 can damage nerves, cause numbness and weaken the muscle.
While deficiency of these micro-nutrients can be a pain, supplying your body with these offers infinite perk as follows:
- Providing your body with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorus strengthens bones.
- Folic acid supplements can prevent birth defects.
- Having mineral fluoride makes your teeth healthy.
Differentiation between vitamins and minerals
|These are organic.||These are inorganic.|
|These can be broken down by heat, air or acid.||
These hold on to their chemical structure
Consumption plants, fish, animals, and fluids are a great source of minerals but cooking, storage or exposure to air might inactivate these baring from entering the body.
- Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food while these pass your digestive tract.
- Vitamin C absorbs iron.
- Vitamin E absorbs and stores vitamin A.
- Excessive manganese exacerbates iron deficiency.
- Deficiency of iodine slows down thyroid hormone production resulting in sluggishness and obesity.
Different vitamins support your body differently.
|Fat-soluble vitamins||Antioxidants||Major minerals||Trace minerals|
•Biotin (vitamin B7)
•Folic acid (folate, vitamin B9)
•Niacin (vitamin B3)
•Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5
•Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
•Thiamin (vitamin B1)
|Carotenoids: lycopene, lutein
· Flavonoids: anthocyanins, quercetin, catechins
1. Water-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins join the bloodstream as food gets broken down while digestion or when supplement dissolves.
- B vitamins help release energy.
- Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin help in energy production.
- Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid build proteins and cells.
- Vitamin C makes collagen.
These enter the blood through lymph channels in the intestinal wall and proteins act as their carriers.
- Repair eyes, skin, lungs, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract.
- Vitamins A, D, and K help strengthen bones.
- Vitamin A protects your vision and keeps your eyes healthy.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect the body from any damage.
- Words to the wise
- Sodium, chloride, and potassium help maintain appropriate water balance in the body.
- Calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are vital for healthy bones.
- Sulfur stabilizes protein structures that contribute in making hair, skin, and nails.
Excessive presence of one mineral cause deficiency of another
Calcium combines with excess sodium which means loss of needed calcium in the form of surplus sodium.
Excessive phosphorus is a hurdle in the absorption of magnesium by the body.
4. Trace minerals
- Iron carries oxygen throughout your body.
- Fluoride makes bone strong and prevents tooth decay.
- Zinc prevents blood clots, boosts taste and smell and it also bolsters the immune response.
- Copper helps in enzyme formation further assisting iron metabolism and hemoglobin creation, which in turn carry oxygen in the blood.
- Prevents damage to body cells.
Antioxidants counteract unstable molecules like free radicals that pose threat to DNA, cell membranes and other parts of the cell.
- Neutralize marauders like free radicals
- Break chain reaction that can adversely impact other cells.
Best Vitamin Supplements For Teens
Supplements are often taken to deal with a particular deficiency. So consult a doctor before picking a supplement.
1. Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for teens
Naturelo whole food multivitamin is meant to provide complete food nutrition to teenagers. It contains vitamins A and C, and calcium, among other nutrients. The best part about these multi-vitamins is that it is made from natural ingredients.
These multivitamins claim to enhance the immune system and boost energy in teenagers. It supports brain, skin and eye health in teens.
2. BestVitality 100% Natural Vitamin B Complex
These tablets are also vegan and have plant-based ingredients. BestVitality B complex tablets are meant to be taken if your teen has vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid deficiency. These vitamins are essential for cell regeneration, breaking up the protein and controlling amino acids in the body. Mostly teenage girls take this tablet as it also helps in the health of skin, nails and hair.
3. MegaFood- Alpha-Teen Multivitamin
MegaFood helps in filling deficiency of the missing vitamins and minerals in your teen’s diet. It has vitamins D, K, and Calcium and is made up of organic farm fresh fruits. The minerals present in this multivitamin help in growth of healthy teeth, and bones in teens. This blend is rich in antioxidants and if your kid is eating more fast food than home-cooked meals, then this is the multivitamin that you should pick.
4. Nature Made Calcium 500mg + Vitamin D Tabs
Teenagers often have calcium deficiency despite it being important for the transition of your child to a young adult. Calcium is essential for the development of healthy bones and teeth. The Nature Made Calcium 500mg + Vitamin D tablets contain calcium and vitamin D and is made up from natural ingredients. Since Vitamin D is present in the tablet, it ensures the easy and fast absorption of calcium in the body.
There are many other multivitamins like Maximum Strength Vitamin D-3 & K-2 Supplement, GNC Milestones Teen Multivitamin For Girls 12 To 17 and HealthAid Teenvital that you can choose for your teen.