Did you know that oranges are not the only food high in vitamin C? Check out these fruits and veggies - yes, even potatoes - that fulfill a great percentage of your child’s daily needs in just 1/4 cup!
Vitamin C has long been touted the “immunity” vitamin since it plays a role in our immune system function. It also acts as a scavenger of free radicals and may help prevent or delay certain chronic diseases. Vitamin C also has an important role in wound healing and helps form collagen, neurotransmitters and carnitine in the body. It’s a super important vitamin, friends!
Breast milk and formula are great sources of vitamin C too!
Interestingly, vitamin C also helps our bodies absorb iron, so pairing a high vitamin C food with high iron foods like meats, poultry, fish, lentils, beans and nut butters can help your child’s body absorb iron, a critical nutrient in childhood.
Does vitamin C prevent cold and flu? We know that some people swear by heavy dosing of vitamin C supplements when they feel run down. While some studies have suggested that vitamin C may shorten the duration of illness, other research does not support this theory. Plus, giving your kiddo high vitamin C doses can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. The upper limit for vitamin C and kids is 400 mg for kids 3 and younger and 650 mg for kids 4-8.
Does my child need a vitamin C supplement? In general, no - unless your child has and extremely limited diet or malabsorption issues. Talk to your doc if you’re concerned. Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) in industrialized countries is very rare.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re offering vitamin C foods regularly to your child to help support the immune system and other physiologic functions, but loading them up on vitamin C won’t necessarily stop the common cold or flu. (Remember, potato products count too!)