Calcium For Teens – Benefits And Sources

Are you daily coaxing your teen to have that glass of milk? Are you worried that your teen’s bad eating habits may lead to a calcium deficiency in his critical growth years?

If you thought it was okay for your teen to skip his daily calcium dose, this article is just for you. Read on to know how much calcium your teen needs. Learn why do teenagers need Calcium.

How Much Calcium Do Teens Need?

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), your teen needs 1300 mg of calcium per day, right from the age of 13 (1). As your child grows older his daily calcium requirement will drop down to 1000 mg per day.

During the teenage years, your child’s growth and development happens at a faster rate. Intake of adequate calcium ensures the increase in the size and mass of your teen’s bones. Your teen should ideally have four to five daily servings of calcium-rich foods and drinks (2) Milk and milk-based products like yogurt and cheese are an excellent source of calcium. They also contain a good amount of Vitamin D, which helps absorb the calcium.

Calcium For Teens – How Does It Help?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), teens should consume more calcium-rich diet to prevent bone related diseases in the future (3). Until the age of 30, your child will keep adding calcium to his bones. It will help his bones become strong and dense. Once he reaches the mid-30s, the bone mass will start declining. If your child has an adequate amount of calcium during the teenage years, it will ensure he has healthy bones for a lifetime.

Intake of artificial drinks instead of milk takes a toll on your teen’s bone-health. According to the Harvard Medical School, teenage girls who drink carbonated beverages are at a higher risk of suffering from bone fractures (4).

Considering Calcium for teenagers possess many other health benefits. Calcium aids the clotting of blood and enhances the functioning of nerves and muscles.

Calcium Rich Foods:

Here is a list of some foods and drinks that are rich in calcium. Ensure your teen consumes these as a regular part of his diet:

  • Milk and milk based food items like yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese.
  • Canned fish that have soft bones and fish like sardines, salmon, and anchovies.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, bok choy, mustard greens and turnip greens.
  • Processed Tofu that has calcium sulfate.
  • Lime processed corn Tortillas.
  • Any juice, cereal or bread that is calcium fortified.

What To Do If My Teen Is Lactose Intolerant?

If your teen is lactose intolerant and is not able to have milk, he can include other calcium-rich food. These do not have to be milk based. Your teen may have almond milk and lactose-free milk. Do speak to your doctor before starting your teen on any milk, even though it may be lactose-free.

Your teen’s diet in the teenage years will highly influence his health in the later years. Make sure your teen eats well and is physically active. In addition to having calcium-rich foods, your teen should also get enough Vitamin D. Playing out in the sun will also help your teen to get plenty of Vitamin D that will help absorb the calcium. You can also seek your doctor’s advice on Calcium supplements for teens.

Hope you liked our post on Calcium for teens. If you have interesting calcium-rich recipes that your teenagers drool over, please share it here with other moms.

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