The Importance of Calcium for Kids

The Importance of Calcium for Kids

Article By: Dr. Evangelynn Honegger

Dr. Evangelynn Honegger is the Lead Clinic Physician at TRUEcare Integrative Medicine, an integrative naturopathic family medicine, acupuncture, and functional nutrition practice in Kirkland, WA.

Being in pediatric-focused primary care, I love to emphasize how all kids are athletes — the high school football player, the pick-up basketball champ, the middle school volleyball player, the cast member in the school musical, the clarinet player in the marching band, the ballet dancer, and the bike riding 4th grader zooming down the street.

Organized sports aren’t the only activities that define being an athlete... Many children participate in physically demanding activities year-round like swimming, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, riding bikes, etc. All children, no matter the activities and sports they pursue, should receive a sports physical not only to check the boxes but to give them the best opportunity to fully and safely enjoy the activities they love.

1) Why Calcium is such a crucial nutrient for children.

One of the top nutrients I cover in sports physicals is Calcium intake. Did you know that most young people in the United States don’t get enough Calcium in their diets? We often think of Calcium as the star player for strong bones and teeth, but it also helps with healthy blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve function, and heart rhythms. Calcium is an underrated mineral that isn’t talked about enough. I recommend it for any of my patients who might be:

  • Picky eaters
  • Lactose intolerant
  • Plant-based or vegan
  • Focused on nutrition and/or struggling with an eating disorder
  • Recovering from surgery on bones and teeth
  • Suffering from any kind of inflammatory bowel disease

2) The importance of combining Calcium with Vitamins D3 and K2.

Let’s not forget Calcium’s star helpers! Calcium thrives best with the addition of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. It is this trifecta of nutrients that run the show for optimal bone health and skeletal systems. Vitamin K2 regulates normal blood clotting, and Vitamin D3 optimizes healthy hormone production and immune system function. These helpers also make sure Calcium gets to where it needs to go in the body and prevents unwanted Calcium build-up in the arteries. For kids and teens, be sure to check out Renzo’s Hercules Calcium with D3 and K2!

While supplementation is a great place to start, I love supporting with whole foods as well. I’m on a mission to get more healthy seeds (namely underrated chia seeds) into families’ diets. I find I need to focus on nutrient-dense breakfast ideas with my patients most often since many young athletes tend to skip breakfast.

3) Chia seeds as a Calcium-rich addition to snacks and meals.

Chia seeds are packed with healthy omega 3 fats, prebiotic fiber, and a little protein bump for healthy digestion to create a balanced snack to get kiddos through the day. Chia seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be added to many different foods such as yogurt, smoothies, and baked goods. If you are looking for a healthy and Calcium-rich snack, chia seeds are a great option. Just remember to soak them in water or nut milk before eating as this will help to improve their digestibility.

4) A few Calcium-boosting breakfast ideas.

  • Oatmeal, muffins, waffle, or pancake mix with chia seeds
  • Overnight oats (if dairy is a non-issue, yogurt and fruit parfait with flax seeds)
  • Smoothie with yogurt or almond milk
  • Egg cups with kale
  • Cottage cheese with honey drizzles
  • Meals with ½ cup cooked Calcium-rich greens

**Remember, Greek or higher protein yogurts tend to be lower in Calcium based on the way these types of yogurts are strained... Even though they may boast more protein, they often lack in Calcium.

Calcium is an important superstar mineral for kids. Bodies need Calcium for healthy muscle function, nerve transmission to help nerves send signals to the brain and other parts of the body, blood clotting to stop bleeding, and hormone production. By keeping these tips and optimal supplements for your everyday athlete kiddos in mind, you can help your child get the Calcium they need to thrive and keep up healthy and active lifestyles with a body and mind connection.

Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.

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