Calcium - what's the big deal?
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
It is one of the those nutrients we often hear about … but why is it so important that our children have enough of it in their diets?
Well, to put it simply, STRONG bones, STRONG teeth. Our skeleton is made up of bone - a living tissue - that needs calcium to make them strong. We need enough Calcium, at any age, but it is particularly important in the early years of childhood when 60% of our bone is laid down, setting us up for our future.
We have until around the age of 25 years old to build up our bones to as strong as they can be (peak bone mass), after which they will remain constant for a period of time before they gradually start to weaken, very slowly.
If we have not had enough calcium in the early years to build up this strength, our bones may become weak a lot quicker, which could lead to osteoporosis later in life – a condition where our bones become very fragile and break or fracture easily.
Look at your diet, look at your children’s diets and make sure everyone in the family is having enough calcium to keep those bones strong!
Some points to note …
Low fat dairy has the same amount of calcium as full fat dairy
Offer whole milk to children under 5 years, as skimmed milk does not contain enough fat for them. At the age of 2 years onwards, if you feel your child is eating well & growing well, you can offer semi skimmed milk.
We need Vitamin D to absorb calcium
Calcium has other important jobs in the body, including helping your muscles to work & blood flow around the body
Go for calcium rich foods first, before reaching for supplements.