Should you give your kids vitamin supplements? 50-years of intensive farming methods mean our soil and our food isn’t as nutrient-rich as it once was. That means all of us could do with a vitamin boost, especially growing children, but there’s a catch.
‘The majority of vitamin supplements available contain synthetic vitamins that are difficult for the body to absorb, if they can be absorbed at all,’ says Anastasia Stephens, nutrition advisor to UK Fostering.
That’s why health experts are increasingly recommending superfoods – supplements taken from nutrient-rich natural sources. Here in the first part of a two part series, Anastasia Stephens, nutrition advisor to UK Fostering suggests some of the best superfoods for the children in your care. As always though, please take good care of any allergies a child may have when considering food or food supplements.
SUPERGREENS (NATURAL MULTIVITAMIN)
Spirulina and chlorella are edible, nutrient-dense algae which boost overall nutrition when taken daily. They contain over 40% protein, vitamins B, C and E and over 30 minerals including magnesium and iron. They’re also rich in enzymes which aid biological function. Research has found chlorella helps detoxification while studies affirm both boost immunity and energy levels, fight inflammation and lower cholesterol.
Tip: You might want to add a spoonful of powder to your children’s smoothies or give as tablets each morning.
Try: Chlorella Spirulina by Nature Complete (£19.55 for 90g) from www.nutricentre.com
COCONUT OIL (NATURAL IMMUNE-BOOSTER)
The fatty molecules in coconut are unique, acting more like carbohydrates in the body to produce instant energy. While they are saturated, they fight heart disease and lower cholesterol. The oil has even been found to speed metabolism, aiding weight loss. Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid which reduces inflammation, kills a number of viruses and boosts overall immunity.
Tip: You could try spreading some coconut oil on toast at breakfast instead of butter. Alternatively you could add a spoonful to your curry in the evening