Did your parents ever tell you that if you didn’t eat your vegetables, you would get scurvy like the pirates? That wasn’t smart. All kids want to be like pirates. That still doesn’t mean your parents were wrong. In ancient times, scurvy was a serious health concern during the winter months when fresh fruits and vegetables were unavailable, and for sailors who were out on ships for months at a time only consuming dried beef, bread, and seafood because they had no way of storing or keeping other foods fresh. A person with a severe vitamin C deficiency would develop weak bones, swollen joints, loss of teeth, anemia, and eventually death. That’s a gruesome list of things that’ll get your kids interested in learning why they need to eat properly. [photo via flickr]
It took a few centuries before someone finally realized that scurvy could be cured with citrus fruits, which are high in ascorbic acid. Actually, everyone thought citrus was the cure until April 4th, 1932, when Professor C. Glen King first isolated the vital vitamin. In our modern civilization–even for children who avoid fruits and vegetables like the plague–scurvy really isn’t a concern. Most of the food products that cater to children are fortified with vitamin C, as well as other important vitamins that growing children need.
It’s still good to know the dailyVitamin C recommendations. Infants are recommended to have 40–50 mg per day. Children from one to three years old are supposed to take in 15mg per day C. Kids from from four to eight years old should be getting 25 mg per day. Nine-to-thirteen year olds should take in 45 mg per day. And as teenagers, girls need 65 mg and boys 75 mg per day. That’s a recommended daily allowance is from both foods and supplements combined.
Because bodies cannot produce or store vitamin C, it is important to make sure that our children take in enough of the vitamin to stay healthy. It improves the absorption of iron, and keeps our teeth, gums, and blood vessels healthy. Interestingly enough, there’s no real scientific proof that Vitamin C is a remedy for colds and weakened immune systems, but we still kind of rely on it to keep our kids from getting sick from colds. Besides, it’s extremely rare for an overdose of vitamin C to occur. Any excess can’t be stored and leaves your kids’ bodies through urine. Doses of over 2,000 mg per day can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea, though, so watch out if your kids are real citrus fiend. Tell themd to take a break from healthy living and to go rot their brains on video games.