HEALTH / WELLNESS

Are you sure your child is getting enough Calcium?

GIVE YOUR CHILD HEALTHY BONES THE CALCIUM WAY

Calcium is vital for your child’s bone, teeth and hair development. Calcium is the main building block of your child’s strong and healthy bones.  It promotes nerve and muscle function, helps in blood clotting, and aids in the activation of enzymes that promote converting food into energy. 99% of the body’s total calcium content is stored in the bones and teeth. Children are growing bone all the time and therefore it is important that they get a steady supply of calcium in their daily diet to support their growth. From infancy to adolescence, calcium is one nutrient that a child simply cannot be allowed to miss.

ROLE OF CALCIUM IN THE BODY

  1. Teenage girls run a risk of developing osteoporosis if their diet does not contain the right nutrition to promote bone building. This also increases the risk of fractures from weakened bones.
  2. Younger children and babies are at risk of developing rickets if they do not get enough calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Rickets is a disease that causes soft bones and as a result of which the limbs become bowed and cause muscle pain and weakness.
  3. Calcium plays an important role in ensuring that the muscles and nerves are working properly. Also aid the release of hormones and enzymes. If blood calcium levels are low, then the body takes calcium from the bone to aid these functions.

RECOMMENDED CALCIUM DOSE

  • 1 to 3 years old — 700 milligrams of calcium daily
  • 4 to 8 years old — 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily
  • 9 to 18 years old — 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily

SOURCES OF CALCIUM

The following food products are rich in calcium:

  • Milk and all dairy products
  • Red beans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Rhubarb
  • Tofu
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Tahini
  • Spinach

WAYS TO ENSURE THAT YOUR CHILD GETS ENOUGH CALCIUM

  1. Give your child a glass of milk every night. This will not only help them relax and give them the much needed sound sleep, they will also get part of their daily calcium requirement.
  2. Calcium rich snacks between meals are a great way of boosting your child’s calcium intake. Crackers with cheese, fruit and yogurt, cottage cheese with carrots and cucumbers are great and healthy calcium rich snacks
  3. For children who are fussy eaters and will not eat what you give them, it might be an idea to buy calcium fortified cereals, drinks and fruit juices. These are also ideal for children with lactose intolerance.
  4. Ensure that your kids eat a variety of foods. A varied diet is not only tasty and enjoyable, it slowly adds up in building your calcium reserves.
  5. If you still think that your child may not be getting enough calcium, try giving them a calcium supplement. Remember they need calcium to build strong and healthy bones.

A child can never have too much calcium unless they are on supplements. Supplements do pose risks of kidney stones so if you can get your child to have calcium rich foods and drink in their daily diet then do away with the supplements and go the natural way for your child’s natural, healthy and strong bone growth.

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