You may recall the slogans “Got Milk?” and “Milk! It does a body good.” It true! Milk is good for our body! Why? One reason is its high calcium content. Calcium is an important mineral that is needed to build strong bones teeth. Not only that, but getting enough in childhood will help keep your bones strong for your entire lifetime.
In childhood, we are able to store calcium in our bones. Our bones are the strongest and most dense that they will ever be in our late teen years. This is why we recommend kids 9-18 get more calcium than any other age. If we do not consume enough calcium our body will take stored calcium from our bones. This can make your bones weak and more likely to break. This is especially true when we are adults and can no longer store calcium in our bones as we can as children. As an adult you must get enough calcium daily through diet and supplements.
|Age in years||Calcium needed daily|
|4-8 year olds||800mg of Calcium per day|
|9-18 year olds||1300mg of Calcium per day|
|19-50 year olds||1000mg of Calcium per day|
How do I get enough Calcium?
The best way to get calcium is through eating foods with high amounts of calcium. Generally 4 servings of calcium rich foods per day will get you the needed daily calcium. Some examples are found below:
- Milk, yogurts and milk products like cheese have the most calcium.
- Dark green leafy vegetables like kale
- Chickpeas, lentils, split peas, canned salmon
- Cereals, juices, tofu and soy milk WITH ADDED CALCIUM
- Add low-fat yogurt to pancakes, waffles, smoothies and dips.
Supplements. If you are not getting enough calcium through your diet, a calcium supplement will help. We recommend a calcium and Vitamin D3 supplement such as Calcitrate or a general pediatric multi-vitamin.
The following table shows the amount of calcium in a variety of foods.
|Milk*, regular or low-fat, 1 cup||245–265|
|Yogurt, nonfat, fruit, 1 cup||260|
|Cheese, 1-oz slice||200|
|Ice cream, 1/2 cup||90|
|Frozen yogurt, 1/2 cup||105|
|Soy milk, calcium-fortified, 1 cup||200–500|
|Almonds, chopped, 1 oz||65|
|White beans, cooked, boiled, 1 cup||160|
|Salmon, canned with bones, 3 oz||205|
|Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup||60|
|Collards, cooked, 1 cup||265|
|Tomatoes, canned, stewed, 1 cup||85|
|Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 1 cup||300|
Are there other things that help make our bones strong? Exercise like soccer, walking, running or dance will help make your bones strong. Getting enough Vitamin D will help as well.
To discuss specific questions about your child’s needs we would love to see you in clinic.