Children are always asked to drink more and more milk daily because calcium is found abundantly in milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. It has also been suggested by doctors, nutritionists and fitness experts to add more calcium to our daily routine. The reason behind the emphasis on calcium is that it is one of the components which make our bones stronger.
Calcium in the Human Body
- It helps the bones to build stronger and longer by supporting tissues in bones, hence making us taller and stronger.
- Slows down the rate of degeneration of bones.
- Helps muscle contraction.
- Specifically, calcium not only helps other muscles but it also helps the heart muscles’ contraction, helping the heart beating.
- Human nerves need calcium to function.
- Helps in clotting of blood.
Not taking enough of it
Parents should be more concerned about not only their child’s calcium intake but also about themselves. However, children are at higher risk of many complications if they are not getting enough of recommended calcium in their daily diet. If they do not get enough of recommended calcium, their growth is ceased, and they might never achieve their average adult height. Even a mild deficiency of calcium can bring serious problems to the person later in his or her life. The risks and problems relating calcium deficiency might include broken bones, lower bone density or bone loss later in life.
How much is too much?
Excess of everything is definitely bad, intake of calcium more than 2500 milligrams in a day can have harmful effects on your health. Higher calcium intake can cause kidney stones and might hinder the absorption of zinc, magnesium, and iron in the body. Before taking any supplements to increase your calcium intake, you must first know about the optimal amount of calcium to take during a day. According to experts addition of dairy products in your daily diet will solve the problem of calcium deficiency and will also never create the problem of excess calcium intake. It is easier and cheaper to add dairy products including milk and yogurt then going to a doctor and taking a different kind of supplements.
The amount of calcium required according to different age groups and genders is given below.
Age Wise Requirement
Adequate intake (AI) for ages 9-18 is 1,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
AI for ages 18-50 is 1,000 mg a day.
AI for 50+ is 1,200 mg a day.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation further recommends
Age 50 & below 1,000 milligrams per day
Age 51 & above 1,200 milligrams per day
Age 70 & below 1,000 milligrams per day
Age 71 & above 1,200 milligrams per day
Vitamin D and Calcium
Taking enough calcium might not only enough for stronger bones because the lower level of Vitamin D will hinder the calcium absorption. Hence it is also important to take enough Vitamin D with enough calcium.
Calcium is found in many foods including leafy vegetables with dark green leaves, dairy products, tofu, cereals, broccoli, kale salmon, and figs.