Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Calcium and your Kids!


Calcium is a very important nutrient in anyone’s diet; especially children who are growing and developing everyday. It’s a vital nutrient for bone formation during childhood.
We are told that our children need dairy products to get the calcium that they need but the truth is that milk is not all its cracked up to be. Sure, dairy milk is high in calcium but research has shown that our bodies find it so hard to digest that it actually strips the body of more calcium that you are putting in through the digestive process. You can read more about milk here. So is it the end of the world if your child never drinks cows milk? NO!  There are many great sources of calcium to fuel our children’s growing bodies in whole foods and you might be surprised what they are. I’m not talking about eating enriched or fortified foods; this means food products that have added calcium. This is not good. There is definitely a problem if the companies are adding calcium to our food. The food would obviously be nutrient deficient to start with and it is all for marketing. Don’t believe what the packages say. Just eat real food.

Don’t worry if your child doesn’t drink milk

Here are 8 great calcium sources:
1.     Dark leafy Green vegetables – Dark leafy greens are great sources of calcium; especially varieties such as kale and spinach. Make Green smoothies with these guys for the kiddies.
2.     Broccoli – Broccoli is great source of calcium; raw or cooked. It holds many other very important nutrients too. It is a nutritional powerhouse so juice it, blend it, or steam it. Great as little trees for snacks and dipping in avocado or homous.
3.     Almonds – Almonds contain more calcium than any other nut. Almonds and almond butter are great sources of calcium so swap your peanut butter for almond butter. Or try some almond milk.
4.     Sesame seeds/Tahini – Tahini is a great product to have in your fridge. You can add it to salad dressings, or cut up apple pieces to dip in it. It has a nutty flavour.
5.     Salmon – Canned Salmon holds the most calcium as it still has its bones, which are what holds the excellence in the calcium department. You can make great salmon patties, casseroles or just enjoy it on crackers.
6.     Whole Linseeds/flaxseeds – Sprinkle these on cereal or ground up in baked goods. Always go for whole seeds, as the refined versions have no calcium whatsoever.
7.     Figs – YUM! Figs are delicious and a good source of calcium. Great snack.
8.     Kefir – Kefir is a wonder food and although it is made with milk products a lot of people that cant digest milk can digest kefir. It is a live culture that is full of protein and calcium and is very important for gut health. Its great on its own or mixed in smoothies.
9.    Chia Seeds - Many people are unaware that chia seeds are super high in calcium. You can add them to everything; Breakfasts, soups, smoothies.
10.  Quinoa - Quinoa is a great healthy wholegrain and holds quite a good amount of calcium. It is great to add in your meals instead of rice or couscous.
Hot tip to improve calcium absorption: Vitamin D helps improve calcium absorption. Food and sunlight are your two sources for vitamin D so enjoy some sun time.
Where does your child get their calcium?
Cass xo
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