Adding calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as dairy products and dark leafy greens, to your child’s diet can have several long-term health benefits, especially for their oral health.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a chemical element that is essential for living organism (like humans!).
Combined with phosphate, calcium is the mineral portion of human and animal bones and teeth. In fact, there is more calcium in the human body than any other mineral.
Why is calcium an important part of my child’s diet?
Calcium is vital in the body’s ability to build strong bones and teeth, and it also promotes good nerve and muscle function, and activates the enzymes that convert food into energy.
About 99% of the calcium present in the body is stored in the bones and teeth, and those bones and teeth need a steady supply of calcium to grow strong and healthy.
Since bones and teeth develop and grow rapidly during childhood, and especially during adolescence, calcium intake is exceptionally important during these stages of life.
Ultimately, children’s calcium intake is important not only for building strong bones and teeth now, but also for fighting teeth and bone loss later in life.
What are some calcium-rich foods my child can eat?
It’s common knowledge that dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are fantastic sources of dietary calcium. Taking steps to incorporate more dairy products in your child’s diet is a great way to up his or her calcium intake.
That said, dairy products should not be the only dietary source of calcium your child consumes. And in fact, many children with lactose intolerance can’t consume dairy products.
There are many other great sources of dietary calcium, such as the following:
- Collard Greens (268 milligrams per cup, cooked)
- Broccoli (86 milligrams per 2 cups, raw)
- Kale (101 milligrams per 1 cup chopped, raw)
- Edamame (98 milligrams per 1 cup, cooked)
- Bok Choy (74 milligrams per 1 cup, cooked)
- Figs (121 milligrams per ½ cup, dried)
- Oranges (74 milligrams per 1 large orange)
- Sardines (351 milligrams per one 3.75 oz. can)
- Canned Salmon (232 milligrams per ½ a can)
- White Beans (63 milligrams per ½ cup, cooked)
- Okra (82 milligrams per 1 cup)
- Tofu (434 milligrams per ½ cup)
- Almonds (75 milligrams per ounce)