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7 Supplements your child should be taking

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Nutrition for life

You try to give your child ample amounts of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. But is there anything you're missing?

Healthy family

A well-rounded diet is key to your child's healthy growth and development. Start your kid off on the right foot by offering healthful and natural foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you want to make sure Junior is obtaining all that he needs from his diet, consider adding the following supplements to fill in the holes that exist in his meals.

1

Vitamin D drops

Kids need vitamin D in their diets to prevent rickets (a bone-softening disease) and boost immunity. Granted, many adults and children get a lot of vitamin D just by being out in the sun, but doctors are increasingly concerned that kids still aren't getting quite enough. Add a few drops of vitamin D to your kid's diet to make sure he has enough of this important vitamin.

2

Licorice root

Your child may not need to take licorice root every day, but it's a helpful supplement to have on hand when he has a sore throat, cough or lingering virus. Licorice root can boost your child's immune response so his body can ward off infections. Talk to your pediatrician before using the supplement, though, as it can interact with prescription drugs.

3

Fish or flaxseed oil

Your child's body is unable to produce the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed oil, but the presence of these fats is vital to boost immunity, calm inflammation and create healthy cell turnover. Unless you're one of the rare American families that eats fish on a regular basis, your child's diet may lack an essential amount of omega-3 and omega-6. Address this deficit by adding either ground flaxseed or fish oil supplements to his daily diet.

4

Chewable enzymes

You may very well be able to knock out any of your child's digestive issues with a probiotic supplement, but some kids will still suffer from gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea after adding a probiotic. Add a chewable enzyme to your child's diet if you're concerned about his digestion. These enzymes are derived from pineapple and papaya, and provide your kid's digestive tract with enzymes he may be missing. The supplement will ensure he's absorbing nutrients properly.

5

GABA

GABA is a shortened name for a very hard to pronounce chemical that is naturally made in our brains. If your child is deficient in naturally occurring GABA, he may struggle with insomnia, mood problems and anxiety. Talk to your doctor about adding GABA to your kid's diet if you're concerned about your child's moods, stress and sleeping patterns. GABA may also be indicated to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with ADHD.

6

Green powders

The green color associated with green powder supplements originates from the chlorophyll in super foods like alfalfa, barley greens and blue green algae. Simply stir the powder into a smoothie or drink for an awesome boost of vitamins and minerals in your child's diet. Bonus: The powder will turn any drink into a bright green treat!

7

Probiotics

The health of your child depends, in large part, on the functioning of his or her digestive system. Unfortunately, many children struggle with tummy ailments and sluggish digestion, which can feel quite uncomfortable and diminish immune system function. Probiotic supplements, like the top pediatrician-recommended brand Culturelle, can provide your child with the good gut bacteria that can stave off illness and discomfort. This supplement is especially important if your child struggles with constipation, diarrhea and other stomach ailments.

All recommendations were provided by Jill Troderman, N.C., a certified holistic nutritionist of Santa Cruz Holistic Nutrition. She specializes in child and family nutrition.

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