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Importance of Calcium

Why Do I Need Calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that makes your bones and teeth hard. It is also in your blood and soft tissues; it helps your muscles contract and your blood clot, and helps your nervous system work properly. Vitamin D is essential to the body's absorption of calcium.

Calcium RIch Foods:

Nuts & Beans

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Hazel Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Baked Beans
  • Pistachios, shelled
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chick Peas
  • Lentils
  • Soybean Curds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Lima Beans

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Dried Figs (excellent)
  • Globe Artichoke
  • Black Currants
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Elderberries
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Leeks
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Rhubarb
  • Tangerine
  • Turnip Greens
  • Prunes
  • Navel Oranges
  • Golden Raisins
  • Apricots, Dried
  • Prunes/dehydrated

Sauces, Soups & Other Stuff

  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Brown Sugar
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Clam Chowder
  • Seaweed
  • Cream of Celery
  • Cream of Asparagus
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Minestrone
  • Celery Soup
  • Miso
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Tahini

Drinks

  • Milk
  • Orange Juice w/added calcium
  • Condensed milk sweetener
  • Eggnog
  • Half and Half
  • Goat milk
  • Tangerine Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Pineapple Juice Cream
  • Nonfat dry powdered milk
  • Buttermilk

Meats

  • Flank Steak
  • Ground Beef
  • Top Sirloin
  • Chili
  • Round Steak
  • Liver
  • Veal Cutlets
  • Rabbit (very calcium rich)
  • Venison, ground
  • Smoked Meats
  • Turkey Bologna
  • Venison
  • Bratwurst
  • Kielbasa
  • Salmon (especially canned)
  • Shrimp
  • Haddock
  • Carp
  • Perch from ocean
  • Herring
  • Sardines in oil with beans

Bread/Grain Products

  • Wheat Breads, enriched
  • Mixed Grain Breads, enriched
  • Corn Bread
  • Carob Flour
  • Taco Shells
  • Nature Valley Granola
  • Brown Rice
  • Bulgur
  • Brown Rice
  • Rice Flour
  • Soy Flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Oat Flakes (fortified)
  • Puffed Rice
  • Total™ Cereal

Desserts

  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Baked Custard
  • Bread Pudding with raisins
  • Rice Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pudding
  • Ice Cream

Cheeses & Dairy

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Romano Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Blue Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt

How do I know if my child is getting enough Calcium?

Calcium is usually shown on food packaging as a percentage. This is on the general basis of 1000 mg. recommended daily intake. So, to figure the amount of calcium in a food, simply add a zero to the end to get the milligrams of calcium that product contains.

Example:
35% = 350mg
12% = 120mg
60% = 600mg

Based on the indicators below, you can determine how much calcium your child needs to develop strong, healthy teeth and bones.

  • Preschool age children require about 500 to 800 mg of calcium each day.
  • School age children require about 800 mg of calcium each day. Once they begin puberty, their calcium requirements will increase to about 1200 mg each day.
  • Adolescents require about 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium each day. These growing bones need more calcium than adult bones!

Yummy ways to add calcium to your diet.

You will probably only need to add calcium to your child's diet if your child is on a vegan or other dairy restricted diet. For children who do not like or cannot tolerate milk products, dark leafy green vegetables and/or soy-based products can be introduced to add the extra calcium boost growing teeth need.

If you find that your child is not getting enough calcium but they are dairy tolerant, try dried milk instead of tablet form supplements. They'll never know the difference!

WOW! 1 Tablespoon of nonfat dried milk has 85 mg of calcium!

Add nonfat dried milk to:

  • Pancakes and waffles (2 Tablespoons)
  • The milk you put on cereal
  • Creamed soups
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked cereals

Also fun treats like ice cream, frozen yogurt, pudding, pizza, cheese cubes, and custards can act as calcium supplements to children who don't like milk, and can be quite healthy when they are given in appropriate amounts.