Calcium is an important ingredient in body growth and development and is something that kids should have plenty of in their nutrition. The kids do not have clear idea of what they are supposed to eat and drink to ensure growing healthy. Therefore, if someone asked them their nutrition would consist ofsodas and candy, or cigarettes and coffee, in case of teens. This is why there are an alarming number of kids who suffer from calcium malnutrition.
Role of Calcium
To build strong bones, body uses calcium mineral. The building process is complete by the end of teen years so therefore it is very important for kids to take plenty of calcium through childhood, adolescence and their teens.
Besides building bones calcium is used for transmission of messages through nerves, muscle contraction, and hormone release. If the body lacks calcium in blood, it takes calcium from the bones.
To ensure building a healthy body, growing up should be supported by physical activity, and adequate calcium intake. Kids from 1 to 3 years old should take 500 milligrams of calcium daily, from 4 to 8 about 800 mg and from 9 to 18 1300 mg per day.
To bind this calcium to the bones properly vitamin D should be present in the body. This is done by being exposed to the sun in short intervals daily or by taking vitamin D supplements.
Sources of Calcium
Dairy products such as milk are best known calcium sources. If kids are unable or will not take milk, here are a few tricks that will help.
Lactose intolerant kids can use low lactose or lactose free products, or lactose drops can be added to their milk. For detailed tips on how to ensure enough calcium with lactose intolerance, the doctor should be consulted. Doctor can suggest certain dairy products that contain active cultures and are more easily digested and are not likely to cause problems.
Some kids are allergic to the protein in milk and are unable to use it as a calcium source. In these cases there are soy-based and hypoallergenic types of milk. For older kids a good substitute are rice or soy milk that have been enriched with calcium, vegan products, or other rice and soy based products.
Vegetarian or vegan diets have limited sources of calcium and it is quite a task getting enough calcium for the body, even for adults. This is why submitting children to these kinds of diets is considered risky and should be seriously considered, and handled with most attention and care.
There are plenty of calcium substitutes in different vegetable and fruit types. These include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, chickpeas, calcium fortified product like coy and rice drinks, orange juice and cereals.
Benefits of Drinking Milk
Some teens avoid drinking milk in fear of gaining weight. It is important for them to realize that a glass of skim milk contains only 80 calories and no fat, and is worth a quarter of recommended calcium daily dose. There are also low and non fat dairy alternatives that are healthy, and far better than sugar based soda drinks that have virtually no nutritional value. There are also calcium fortified 100% fruit juices but they also contain plenty of sugar and calories.