Calcium plays many important roles in the human body. The most important one is probably it’s part in supporting the bone structure – especially in the growth years.
Strength and growth
Calcium is quantitatively the best represented mineral in the human organism, with about 99% of this being located in the teeth and bones. Because of its important role as a component in the bone structure, calcium is such an indispensable nutrient for the growth of our children. This is by no means the only function of calcium. It furthermore acts as the stabiliser, keeping teeth and bones strong. Beyond this, calcium is also necessary for blood clotting and supports the proper functioning of muscles, nerves, hearing, kidney and lung functions.
Preventing a deficit
In the unlikely yet possible event of continued calcium deficiency, bones and teeth can suffer serious decalcification. This in turn increases the likelihood of broken bones, even when minimally pressure is applied. A drop in the bones’ strength can furthermore lead to bone deformation and life-long back problems and pains. These scenarios are generally easy to prevent.
Best sources of calcium
The highest quantities of calcium can be found in foods such as milk, cheese and other dairy products, all items that are generally liked by kids. Although at a lower dose, calcium can also be found in broccoli, cabbage, whole grain and pulses. Under normal circumstances, the calcium requirements of the body should therefore be covered by an average diet and should not need any further calcium fortification.
Even when buying water you can be particularly selective and only buy the varieties with the highest declared calcium contents – this is very relevant for people with lactose intolerance that cannot cover their daily needs through conventional milk.
The recommended daily dose for infants under four months is about 220mg and 400mg for infants between four and twelve months. This climbs to 600mg for toddlers between 1 and 4 years and 700mg between 4 and 7 years. These amounts increase further to 900mg for children between 7 and 9 and to 1100mg for children between 10 and 13.
Calcium before and during pregnancy
Calcium is considered an essential nutrient, but it’s not always easy to assure it’s appropriate intake. Aside from milk and dairy products there are not many foods that contain significant quantities. But before and during pregnancy, there is a considerable increase in the daily-required amounts: The baby needs the additional calcium to start developing its little bones, meaning mums can easily fall into a deficit. In order to compensate for this, good nutritional habits are key. An increased calcium intake furthermore reduces the risk of pregnancy related illnesses. Foods that contain high amounts of calcium include: cheese, milk, yogurt, kefir, broccoli, green cabbage, spinach, hazelnuts and sesame seeds.