What are vitamins anyway?
Vitamins are one of the major components of food that are needed for the body to grow and develop normally. They are molecular substances required by the body system in smaller amounts for a variety of essential processes. They are mostly found in fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
Sadly, in the African continent, Nigeria, to be precise, most individuals are interested in energy giving food know as Carbohydrates as the main nutrients a child need to carry on his/her day-to-day activities, neglecting other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to be precise, that are responsible for the child’s metabolism and Immunity.
What is Immunity and why is it important to an African child?
Immunity can be defined as the state of resistance of an organism to invading foreign bodies or antigens and their harmful effects that fights against the development of infections and maintain the organism’s well-being by counteracting and neutralizing the pathogens.
Immunity, or better still, the immune system is very important and vital to the development of an African child as it helps to generally fight against incoming infection and diseases that this children are, without the immune system, susceptible to.
There are alot of vitamins needed for the growth of a healthy child, but regarding the immune system, 8 vitamins are regarded more useful and significant.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a wide known vitamin in the society. It is one of the biggest immunty boosters of all. Lack of this vitamin can make a child more prone to sickness. It’s mainly found in citrus fruits (Orangie, Lemon Tangerine e.t.c). It’s also found in Leafy Veggies such as Spinach, Amarantha and also Pawpaw.
2. Vitamin A.
Aside its contribution to good eye sight as well know to the majority, it also has unique properties that helps to build up the immune system.
This vitamin is present in Carrots, Sweet Potatoes and Squash. All these are Carotenoids which is converted by the body to vitamin A, which has antioxidants effect to help strengthen the immune system.
3. Vitamin E.
Like Vitamin A, these can also be a powerful antioxidants to fight off infections. This vitamins can be found in generally nuts: Groundnut, Cashew nuts and Peanuts.
4. Vitamin D.
Vitamin D might be the only vitamin that isn’t easily available or easily extracted be different individuals. It mostly comes in smaller amounts accompanying other vitamins. Well that doesn’t make it to be irrelevant. This vitamin can be found in Fatty Fish, Oranges, Milk and Cereals.
5.Folic acid/ folate.
Folate is natural, folic acid is synthetic. To get more of these, add Beans regularly to your plate, as well as Green Vegetables.
This helps transport Oxygen to the cells. It comes in different forms but the necessary one is “Heme Iron” which is found abundantly in Sea foods, Poultry and Turkey. You can also get it cheaply from Beans.
Zinc can be found in Oysters, Crabs, Yogurts and also Beans. This help to control inflammation in the children’s body as it slows down the immune response.
Most might be wondering, what is this?
To be precise, Selenium is a micro nutrient needed by the body as it slows down the body’s over aggressive reactions which helps in preventing Cancer. This vitamin can be found in Garlic, Sardines, Tuna and Barley.
The need to include foods rich in vitamins shouldn’t be addressed with levity as they have great effects on the development of children and their immune system. Beans, Green Vegetables, Oranges, Groundnuts, Cashew nut and even non-carbonated fruit juices are readily available in local markets and supermarkets. These are supposed to be incorporated into the daily diet of an African child. The immune system is important. It’s effect on the well-being of a child shouldn’t be underestimated.