Vitamin D

Vitamin D-rich Fruits And Vegetables That Are A Must For Your Child

Written by Divya Gandhi
Published: July 11, 2023
Founder/Owner/Dietitian at Diet and Cure Clinic with 10 Years of experience. Double Diploma from VLCC & IGNOU, BBA from IP University

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Optimal nutrition sets the foundation for children’s physical and mental well-being. Among the essential nutrients, Vitamin D, often called the sunshine nutrient, stands out as a vital component for the growth and development of children. It aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, promotes healthy bone formation, and prevents various health problems. While sunlight is the primary source of Vitamin D, some fruits and vegetables also offer it aplenty. 

Here are some examples of Vitamin D fruits and vegetables that make for excellent addition to your child’s diet. 

1. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are unique among vegetables as they contain ergosterol, a precursor to Vitamin D. When exposed to sunlight, ergosterol transmutes into Vitamin D2, making mushrooms a natural source of this essential nutrient. Including mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, or portobello, in your child’s diet adds to their daily Vitamin D intake. They can be included in soups, stir-fries, or salads to enhance flavour and nutrition. 

2. Spinach: Packed with nutrients, the leafy green spinach contains relatively lower levels of Vitamin D than other sources, but it contributes to a well-rounded diet. This versatile vegetable can be incorporated into smoothies, omelettes, pasta dishes or sautéed as a side dish. 

3. Kale: Kale is another leafy green Vitamin D vegetable full of essential nutrients, including Vitamin D. By including kale in your child’s diet, you not only boost their Vitamin D intake but also enhance their overall nutritional profile. 

4. Broccoli: Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin D, fibre, and other essential nutrients. Broccoli is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and minerals like calcium and potassium. 

5. Oranges: Oranges, apart from the high Vitamin C, also provide a small amount of Vitamin D. As a refreshing and juicy fruit, oranges are a perfect addition to your child’s snack. Whether consumed as a fruit or freshly squeezed juice, oranges can contribute to your child’s overall Vitamin D intake and provide other nutrients and antioxidants. 

6. Papaya: Papaya is a tropical and one of the top Vitamin D fruits that delights the taste buds and offers various health benefits. It contains a modest amount of Vitamin D, Vitamins A and C. Adding papaya to your child’s diet can provide them with a sweet and nutritious treat. Papaya is also rich in fibre, antioxidants, and enzymes that aid digestion.

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Vitamin D is primarily obtained from exposure to sun and secondarily from dietary sources and supplements. Ensuring an adequate intake of this vitamin is a must for your child’s well-being. 

1. Bone Health: Vitamin D helps promote bone health. It helps regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body — vital for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Sufficient Vitamin D intake during childhood reduces the risk of rickets, a condition characterised by fragile bones. By promoting optimal bone density, vitamin D reduces the likelihood of fractures and osteoporosis later in life. 

2. Immune System: Vitamin D supports the immune system, which defends the body against infections and diseases. It enhances the function of immune cells such as T-cells and macrophages that help identify and eliminate harmful pathogens. Adequate levels of Vitamin D pose a reduced risk of respiratory infections, including the common cold and flu, as well as autoimmune conditions like asthma and allergies. 

3. Healthy Growth and Development: Vitamin D helps the formation and maintenance of healthy muscles and supports neuromuscular function. Sufficient Vitamin D has been linked with better motor skills, coordination, and physical performance in children. 

4. Disease Prevention: Research has highlighted the potential role of Vitamin D in reducing the risk of various diseases later in life. Adequate Vitamin D intake in childhood can reduce the likelihood of developing long-term conditions like multiple sclerosis and type-1 diabetes. 

Conclusion Ensuring your child gets adequate Vitamin D is crucial for their growth and development. Incorporate Vitamin D-rich fruits and vegetables into their diet to further support their nutritional needs. Mushrooms, spinach, kale, broccoli, oranges, and papaya are excellent options that offer varying levels of Vitamin D. By including these foods in your child’s meals and snacks, you can help them maintain healthy bones, a strong immune system, and overall well-being.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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