Vitamins and minerals

There are a number of myths which still persist, regarding vitamins and minerals and their deficiency in a vegetarian diet. However it is now very well documented that a balanced diet which includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds will ensure your child gets all the vitamins and minerals required for a vibrant and healthy life.

B vitamins


Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

How does vitamin B1 help us?
Helps heart function and is required to release energy from carbohydrate.

Food containing Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nuts (particularly peanuts, brazil nuts, pecan nuts)
  • Marmite
  • Wheat bran
  • Green peas
  • Chestnut mushrooms

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin is required to release energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat.

Food containing Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • Seaweed
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans
  • Fortified cereals

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Helps lower cholestreol levels, and breaks down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into usable energy.

Food containing vitamin B3 (Niacin)

  • Chestnut and shiitake mushrooms
  • Fortified cereals
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Helps to breakdown the sugars and starches and metabolises protein.

Foods containing Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

  • Summer squashes
  • Shiitake and chestnut mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Fortified cereals
  • Bananas

Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Helps form red blood cells and supports cell production, especially in your skin

Foods containing Vitamin B9 (folate)

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Spinach
  • Marmite
  • Orange juice
  • Asparagus
  • Beans (black, pinto, black eyed beans in particular)

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

How does vitamin B12 help us?
It helps us to produce red blood cells, assists in the production of fatty acids and is essential to maintaining a healthy nervous system.

What happens if we don’t get enough?
We risk becoming anaemic or damage our nervous system.

Foods containing vitamin B12:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Yeast extract (Marmite, vegemite etc)
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified vegetarian foods (ie veggie burgers, veggie sausages etc)

Iron


How does iron help us?
Iron helps the production of haemoglobin which is present within the red blood cells. The red blood cells help carry oxygen around the body. A poor diet (vegetarian or not) can cause aenemia along with other health problems.

Foods rich in iron

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (ie Kale and spinach)
  • Beans and pulses
  • Dried fruit such as apricots and prunes
  • Wholegrains (wholewehat pasta, wholemeal bread, brown rice)
  • Fortified cereals, particularly bran flakes (which strangely my 2 year old loves)
  • Blackstrap mollasses
  • Seaweed / sea vegetables (particularly kelp and nori)
  • Pumpkin seeds

Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron so having a small drink of fresh orange juice with an iron rich meal will ensure your child gets the most from their iron rich foods.


Calcium


How does calcium help us?
Calcium aids bone growth and development, blood clotting and muscle contraction.

Foods rich in Calcium

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt etc)
  • Nuts (particularly almonds and brazil nuts)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tofu
  • brocolli
  • Figs
  • Molasses
  • Beans and pulses

Vitamin C

How does Vitamin C help us?
Vitamin C is considered an antioxidant, it helps maintain the immune system and help produce collagen (the protein in connective tissue).

Foods rich in Vitamin C

  • Strawberries
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Brocolli
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya

Vitamin D


How does Vitamin D help us?

Vitamin D is a vital vitamin for the human body. It helps us to absorb calcium and maintains bone and muscle health. Vitamin D also helps regulate blood pressure, blood sugar levels and muscle function.

The best way to get a Vitamin D fix is to go out into the fresh outdoors on a bright, sunny day and allow your body (mainly the head and arms) to absorb it from the suns UVB rays. However, if you live in a location where you have long winters with short spells of daylight you may want to ensure your child also has the following foods included in their diet.

Foods rich in Vitamin D

  • Goats milk
  • Cows milk
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified yoghurts and dairy products

Please note, we are not experts in nutrition or medical professionals. The information on this site is a result of the research we have carried out and from information sourced from reliable sources on the internet and in books. If you have concerns regarding your childs health you should seek medical advice from a professional.


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