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The Best Vitamins for You and Your Family

The Best Vitamins for You and Your Family

Who Needs What?

Like a lot of moms I spend countless minutes standing in the vitamin isle at the local drug store contemplating which vitamins are best for my kids, which ones do they really need and which ones do my husband and I need, but always
walk away unsure and frustrated. In a perfect world their would be a super vitamin that would work for everyone. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and you, your kiddos and your husband all have different needs. To help make sure everyone is getting what they need, we have designed a little cheat sheet:

LITTLE ONES: Need a Daily Multivitamin! While little ones should be getting enough vitamins and minerals through a well balanced diet, supplements can help out with finicky eaters, particularly active kids who play sports, kids on a vegetarian or dairy free diet and kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems.

  • Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses. Good sources include milk, cheese, eggs, and yellowto- orange vegetables like carrots, yams, and squash.
  • Vitamin B the family of B vitamins — B2, B3, B6, and B12 — aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems. Good sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
  • Vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin. Good sources include citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables like broccoli.
  •  Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources include milk, cheese, and yogurt (especially fortified dairy products), egg yolks, and fish oil.
  • Calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows. Good sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
  • Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate. Good sources include beef and other red meats, turkey, pork, spinach, beans, and prunes.

PRE-TEENS AND TEENS: Need CALCIUM! They need this for building a strong skeleton, but kids usually get far less than the 1,300 mg of calcium they need, according to experts. BEST WAY TO GET IT: Food or Supplements? FOOD! The calcium in cheese, milk, yogurts and many dark leafy greens help build more bone mass than vitamins. Since not all kids are milk drinkers (or green eaters), find a way to be creative… get string cheese or low-fat Greek yogurt mixed with fruit and/or honey. They’ll love the sweet taste!

YOU AND YOUR HUBBY: Need VITAMIN D! Study after study shows that the “sunlight” vitamin can lower the risk of several cancers by as much as 50% and lower the risk of death from ANY cause, yet 74% of all Americans don’t get enough of it. So put on your SPF and catch some rays! BEST WAY TO GET IT: Food or Supplements? SUPPLEMENTS! It’s very hard to find the 1,000 IU’s per day experts are now recommending from food, and if you live in a Northern state you may not get enough sun exposure (your skin makes Vitamin D from sunlight). Look for D3, that’s what your skin makes from the sun.