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Got Milk?

As we were growing up, most of us heard this line quite frequently – “drink up your milk to grow big and strong!” While many of us basically just finished our milk just so that we could get to the best part of it all – a sweet treat, the fact of the matter is that milk does provide a ton of valuable nutrients needed during a child’s development.As we were growing up, most of us heard this line quite frequently – “drink up your milk to grow big and strong!” While many of us basically just finished our milk just so that we could get to the best part of it all – a sweet treat, the fact of the matter is that milk does provide a ton of valuable nutrients needed during a child’s development.

There are several benefits from drinking milk other than just ‘strong bones’. These benefits come from milk products such as cheese, butter and even formula milk for children aged one and above. Milk consumption is important to maintaining a good health and is a great source of calcium for everyone. Read on to find out what calcium does and how it benefits your child!

CALCIUM MAGIC

During childhood and adolescence, our body uses the mineral calcium to build strong bones – a process that is truly only completed by the end of teen years. Bone calcium begins to decrease in early adulthood and progressive loss of bone occurs as we age, particularly in women.

Teenagers whose diets do not consist the nutrients needed to build bones to their maximum potential are at risk of developing a bone disease called osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures from weakened bones.
As for younger children and toddlers who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, they have a high chance of getting rickets. If you are unsure of what rickets it, it is a bone-softening disease that causes severe bowing of legs, poor growth and sometimes also causes muscle pains and weakness.

Not just that, calcium also plays an important role in making sure that your child’s muscles and nerves work properly, and in the release of hormones and enzymes. Meaning, if your blood calcium is low your body will have to take calcium from your bones to help these functions, causing your bones to weaken.

When children and toddlers get the right amount of calcium in their early years, they can start out adulthood with the strongest bones. For sufficient bone health, experts recommend a certain amount of calcium intake daily based on different ages;

  • 1 to 3 years old – 700 milligrams of calcium
  • 4 to 8 years old – 1000 milligrams of calcium
  • 9 to 18 years old – 1300 milligrams of calcium

Getting sufficient calcium is not all you have to focus on, children aged 1 to 18 should also include 600 IU of vitamin D daily. If you think your child is not getting sufficient nutrient daily, you might want to include some formula milk into their diet.

MINDING YOUR MILK

While milk and other dairy products are some of the best and most convenient forms of calcium you can get, are you well aware of who should get what kind of milk and when?

Infants below one should not be given cow’s milk as it does not contain the nutrients needed by a growing baby. It is best to stick to breast milk for the first one year of your child’s existence as breast milk provides the best nutrients a baby could get.

Children above the age of one should be given whole milk to help provide the dietary fats they need for a normal growth and brain development. This is when it would be right to feed your toddler with formula milk. However, they should not consume more than 16 ounces of whole milk a day.

CALCIUM CARE

Yes, of course it is best for children to have a calcium rich diet to get a sufficient amount of calcium for their growth; sometimes this is just not possible. Discuss this with your child’s doctor and try to find milk that your child will enjoy to get all the nutrients needed.

Vitamin D is extremely important for calcium absorption, so it is important that your child has enough of this nutrient as well. Most formula milk contains vitamin D which is great because it helps your child’s body.

Plus, be sure to encourage your child to be active in exercise and sports as these are very important for bone health. For example, you could take your toddler out for a walk in the park; play a little running game with them. These are the things that help their bones strengthen which is truly beneficial in the long run.

Most importantly, choose the right milk for your child and be a role model and have sufficient calcium yourself.

Children tend to follow after their parents, and there would be nothing better than getting sufficient calcium together for a healthier life.

FUN FACT

Other foods rich in calcium include…

  • Cheese
  • Almonds
  • Yoghurt
  • Bok Choy
  • Soft serve ice cream
  • Red beans
  • Cooked broccoli

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