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Health and Nutrition

Dairy milk is an excellent source of calcium.

CALCIUM

Calcium is a mineral that is essential in maintaining total body health. Our bodies need calcium every day, not just for keeping fit but to ensure that our teeth and bones are strong, our muscles and nerves are functioning properly. Calcium even helps our blood to clot and our heart to maintain its rhythm.

While many foods contain calcium, dairy products are the most important source. Milk, yogurt and cheese contain about 300mg of calcium per serving. Some leafy green vegetables are good sources of calcium, as are canned salmon, sardines, shellfish, almonds, Brazil nuts and dried beans. For most people, ensuring sufficient calcium intake is as simple as having three serves of dairy food each day.

CALCIUM AND LIFE STAGES

Babies to Teenagers
From birth through to 18 years of age, bones are forming and growing. Calcium is essential for this process. While breast milk and baby formuals are rich in calcium, many underestimate the importance of keeping up the intake as children grow. The calcium provided to bones early in their development helps to determine how well they hold up in later life. Calcium is particularly important during periods of rapid growth. This is particularly the case during puberty, when there is a rapid increase in height. A healthy diet rich in calcium is vital during these periods.

Women
Calcium provides important function in a woman’s life.  Apart from bone density and strength, calcium also helps by aiding muscle contraction and relaxation, blood coagulation and nerve impulse transmission. Many women do not obtain the recommended amount of calcium in their diet to help maintain healthy bone structure.

Calcium is particularly important during pregnancy. Calcium from the mother’s body is used by the developing baby, thereby putting increased demands on the mother’s supply. Lack of calcium during this phase can lead to disorders that can have serious consequences for both mother and baby.

Calcium is important at every stage of a woman’s life, when a baby is nursing there is a high calcium demand and breastfeeding mothers need a highly nutricious diet, that is rich in calcium.

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