Calcium amounts and benefits for kids

Is your child getting adequate calcium (Ca) ?

Our children need adequate calcium to support their growing bones,  a process that’s  complete by the end of their teen years. Then from young adulthood, bone calcium  begins to decrease, and we progressive lose  bone as we age, particularly in women.

The recommended daily intake of calcium varies according to your child’s age, but it’s worth noting that from 9 years they need the same amount of calcium intake as adults.

 

Age Recommended daily intake of Calcium
1‐3 years: 500mg
4‐8 years: 700mg
9‐13 years: 1000mg ‐ 1300mg
14‐18 years: 1300mg

 

Where else do we find calcium in the body ?

Our blood has a small amount of calcium circulating which helps :

  • Move nutrients across cell membranes.
  • Plays a role in producing the hormones and enzymes that regulate digestion and metabolism.
  • Calcium is also needed for normal communication among nerve cells as well as for blood clotting, wound healing and muscle contraction.

If there isn’t enough calcium available in the blood to do these vital functions, the body will steal if from your bones. Hence why in your blood tests your calcium is generally in range, but its unrelated to the state of your bones.

Factors that help absorption and excretion of calcium from your diet ?

In order to absorb calcium from your food you need good levels of Vitamin D and a health gut along with a healthy diet. By eating at least 5 serves of vegetables a day our bodies are more alkaline. This results in less calcium excreted. However if our diet  is  high in – soft drinks, coffee, alcohol (hopefully not for 9 year olds !!), sodium, processed food, refined sugar we will excrete more calcium !

how calcium benefits kids

how calcium benefits kids

Good dietary sources of calcium ?  

Sufficient calcium intake can be obtained in the diet. Dairy products are the most common and cost-effective source. However the calcium in dairy products is not as well absorbed as that in many dark green leafy vegetables. So it is important to have both in our kids diet.

Foods that contain calcium:

  • Milk and milk products  – milk, yoghurt and cheese.
  • leafy green vegetables  – broccoli, bok choy, Chinese cabbage and spinach.
  • Soy and tofu  – tofu or tempeh.
  • Fish  – sardines and salmon (with bones).
  • Nuts and seeds  – brazil nuts, almonds and sesame seed paste (tahini). Nuts are best soaked for a few hours before consuming.

 

So, why not add some lightly steamed broccoli and homemade hummus with tahini to your kids afternoon snack.

Author: Marie Holland

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