3 Key must-know nutrients for Mums

I’m often asked a question by my clients who are parents, and by many others who attend my workshops in schools. Namely – ‘which are the key nutrients we need to be sure our kids are getting regularly, so they can be healthy and strong – for life?’

I believe this info maybe useful for you too; so here are my top 3 to keep in mind as you’re planning your family meals –

         1.Calcium

What it does, and why kids need it – Vital for building healthy bones (most bone growth happens between 10-21yrs), plus helping the function of nerves, muscles, and for the ideal release of enzymes and hormones.

Are kids getting enough? Seemingly not. Our ability to absorb calcium is reduced by drinking fizzy drinks (which has replaced water for many kids), smoking, and generally poor diets.

If our levels are too low – the body will steal calcium from our bones (something to avoid!) – which increases the risk of osteoporosis and even bone fracture.

I recommend the optimal dose that’s a current indication of the cell’s needs (rather than the RDA or RDI), which are the following milligrams per day–

1-3 yrs -700

4-8 yrs – 1000

9-17 yrs – 1300

(adults 1000)

Great sources include – dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashews, avocado, spinach and raisans

Almonds

         2. Magnesium

What it does,and why kids need it – A key factor for bone health – plus our nervous and cardiovascular systems. Getting the optimal amounts of this mineral (likewise for calcium) is foundational for long term health, especially in our bones.

Are kids getting enough? – Check out the comments above for calcium, as magnesium is a similar story.  

The levels I recommend, in milligrams per day –

1-3 yrs -80-100

4-8 yrs – 130 – 150

9-17 yrs – 240

(adult men – 420, women – 320)

Great sources include – dark green leafy vegetables, tofu (made with calcium sulphate), orange juice and fortified soy milk

front view of fresh spinach in a white bowl

         3. Vitamin D

What it does, and why kids need it – This essential nutrient helps us to absorb calcium and phosphorus, to build healthy, strong bones. It also supports the brain, muscles plus hormonal, immune and inflammatory systems, and studies are being done on a possible anti-cancer function.

Are kids getting enough? A deficiency of Vitamin D is becoming more common, and is linked with too little in the diet, not enough un-covered sun exposure (this is one way we receive this vitamin – when we’re exposed to the sun), kidney or liver problems, obesity, and medications that may interfere with its absorption.

The levels I recommend, in International Units per day –

For kids – 1000 – 2000

(adults – 2000 – 5000)

Great sources include – unhindered exposure to the sun (approx 15-20mins around midday on a sunny a day) fortified soy milk and orange juice, plus high quality supplementation

sunshine

Important Take Away – all 3 of these vital elements need to be in balance in our bodies for optimal bone health.

And given that circulating levels aren’t always optimal for kids – most people are now using some kind of supplement to bridge the gap. The challenge is that most options available fall short of doing this effectively.

If you’d like a guide on how to select a viable option for you – message me at fi@fijamiesonfolland.com and I’ll be happy to send you a guide

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 Fi Jamieson-Folland D.O, is an Executive Lifestyle Consultant, with over 20  years experience in Europe, Asia and New Zealand as a qualified osteopath,  certified raw, vegan, gluten-free chef, educator, writer and health  mentor. She lives in Auckland with her husband Chris, relishing an outdoor  lifestyle and time with family and friends