4 essential vitamins for teenagers
Teenagers tend to have awful eating habits. They skip breakfast; they eat chocolate for lunch; and often opt for fattening takeout when dinnertime rolls around. This may make mealtime fun for them, but it’s definitely not good news for a teen’s growing body.
Your body goes through rapid growth and development changes during your teenage years, which means nutritional needs are high. So, here’s exactly what teenage girls boy and girls need on a daily basis to ensure their bodies receive adequate nutrition.
Vitamin A is essential in helping prevent eye issues, building a healthy immune system, keeping skin healthy, and ensuring proper growth and development of cells.
It’s also vital for teenagers as it promotes proper tooth development and bone growth. Teen boys should aim for around 900mg per day, and teen girls need 700mg per day.
You’ll find vitamin A in milk, fortified cereals and eggs, as well as dark orange or green coloured vegetables (think carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and kale) and orange fruits such as rockmelon, peaches, apricots, mangoes and papayas.
A rather large vitamin family, B vitamins are necessary for a number of reasons: vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and B6 (pyridoxine) help promote red blood cell formation and play a vital roles in normal brains and nerve functionality; vitamin B1 (thiamine) enables the body to convert carbohydrates into energy, and is also essential for optimal heart, muscles and nervous system functionality; and vitamin B9 (folate) also helps the body make red blood cells and DNA. All teenagers require around 400mg of vitamin B9 and 2.4mg of vitamin B12 daily, while boys need 1.2mg of thiamine and 1.3mg of vitamin B6 each day, and girls requiring 1mg of thiamine and 1.2mg of vitamin B6 daily.
A wide variety of foods contain B vitamins, including fish, red meat, poultry meat, milk, cheese, eggs, wholegrains, and fortified cereals and rice. Spinach and green leafy vegetables, asparagus, dried beans and legumes, and orange juice also provide the body with these vitamins.
Your body requires vitamin C in order to form collagen, making it an essential anti-ageing vitamin. However, teens make use of this vitamin when it comes to iron absorption, wound healing, immunity and optimal brain functionality. It’s also required for healthy teeth and gums, bones and blood vessels. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for teenagers is 75mg for boys and 65mg for girls.
Citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C, as do spinach, capsicum, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi fruit and guava.
Vitamin D helps build strong bones and allows your body to efficiently absorb calcium to further promote healthy bone structure. Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with tiredness and low immunity. All teenagers should take in 15mg a day (or 600IU).
The body is able to manufacture its own vitamin D when your skin absorbs sunlight, but eating egg yolks, oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, and fortified foods such as milk, soy milk and orange juice also boost your vitamin D levels.
Did you know vitamins are vital for optimal health in teenagers? Does your teenager get all these vitamins on a daily basis? Did you ever take vitamin supplement as a teen?