Growth & Development

Vitamin B Complex Deficiency: Foods To Add To Your Kids' Diet

Written by Tarishi Shrivastava
Published: May 24, 2024

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Vitamin B is very important for a child’s growth and development, as you might have heard from many health experts, doctors and nutritionists. But, as a parent, do you know what vitamin B is all about and why it is so important for your kids’ diet? Well, the first thing you need to know is that vitamin B is not a single vitamin but consists of many micronutrients. Here’s what you need to know about B vitamins and how a deficiency of this micronutrient can impact your child’s health.

Understanding Vitamin B and Its Deficiency In Children

The B vitamins are a group of eight related nutrients that play important roles in cell metabolism, energy production, and other bodily functions. The B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12).

Each of these vitamin Bs helps children’s health. For example, B6 helps make new red blood cells, whereas B12 helps maintain healthy red blood cells.

Vitamin B complex deficiency refers to a lack of one or more of the B vitamins in the body. Deficiencies in vitamin B can occur for a number of reasons. Some common causes include inadequate dietary intake or digestive system malabsorption issues. People with a diet low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, eggs, and dairy are at risk for B vitamin deficiencies.

Symptoms of vitamin B deficiencies include fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, cracks and sores around the mouth, swollen tongue, depression, confusion, and more. Vitamin B deficiencies can also lead to anemia and neurological problems.

Vitamin B Complex Deficiency: Foods to Add To Your Kids' Diet

Getting enough vitamin B from a balanced diet is especially crucial for kids and teens since their bodies are still growing. Making sure children get adequate vitamin B every day will help support their growth, brain development, energy levels, immune function, and more.

1. Salmon

It contains high amounts of B vitamins, including B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, which are essential for converting food into energy and keeping the body functioning properly. Salmon is packed with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a type of healthy fat that has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides, decrease blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. The omega-3s found in salmon may also promote brain health and development.

2. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens are very good source of vitamin B complex. They contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6 which help with energy and build red blood cells. Eating leafy greens regularly in salads, smoothies, stir-fries, and as side dishes ensures to get enough of these essential B vitamins.

3. Eggs

Eggs are packed with healthy B vitamins. The yellow yolks are full of biotin, also known as vitamin B7, which helps convert food into energy and keep the hair and skin healthy. Eggs also contain vitamin B2, vitamin B5, and vitamin B12. With just one egg containing 6 grams of protein and lots of important vitamins for only about 70 calories, it's no wonder eggs are considered one of nature's multivitamin powerhouses.

4. Milk

Milk and dairy foods like cheese and yogurt contain essential vitamins like B2, B5, and B12. These vitamins help turn food into energy and keep nerves and blood cells healthy. The calcium in dairy also builds strong bones and teeth. So drink up that cold glass of milk or nibble on a few cheese cubes for an easy way to get vitamins, calcium and protein

5. Legumes

Legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans are packed full of folate, also known as vitamin B9, which supports cell growth and red blood cell production. These nutritious beans also contain smaller amounts of other B vitamins like thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and pyridoxine (B6), which aid in converting food into energy. Adding just a half-cup serving of beans to your kid’s meal can significantly increase intake of energizing B vitamins.

6. Yogurt

The fermentation process used to make yogurt produces vitamins B2 and B12, which help turn food into energy and keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy. Eating yogurt can boost the intake of these important nutrients. With its high protein content and abundance of vitamins and minerals, yogurt is a healthy addition to the daily diet.

7. Cereal

Many cereal options today are made with whole grains and can be a great way to get B vitamins in your child’s diet. There are various types of cereal to choose from, such as corn flakes, wheat flakes, rice flakes, oatmeal, bran flakes, muesli, and many more. Try and choose a whole grain cereal with low sugar provides important nutrients like thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12). The B vitamins help the body convert food into energy and also support red blood cell production, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.

It is important that children get enough vitamin B in their diets every day. Foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains, lean meats, eggs, dairy, nuts, and leafy greens, should be included in meals and snacks. Ensuring kids get adequate B vitamins supports healthy growth and development. With a balanced diet, parents can ensure their children's vitamin B needs are met.

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