Why We Need Calcium?

As little kids, we hated it when our parents so desperately tried to get us drink some milk. We were repeatedly told that it’s good for our bones. But we risked our limbs just to avoid that glass of milk.

We now know that our parents were right (as always) to make us drink milk when we were little. For one, it’s rich in calcium, a mineral that helps strengthen our bones and teeth. But many of us opt for sports drinks or sodas than having a white moustache.

Why is calcium vital to health, especially for teens? Bone growth is most rapid during adolescence. Teens need sufficient calcium to strengthen and improve bone density and to avoid bone loss later in life.

But many don’t get the recommended daily amount. Smokers or those who regularly drink alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or soda may become calcium-deficient because those substances disrupt the body’s absorption and use of calcium.

Teenage girls, whose diet doesn’t give them enough calcium to build bones, have higher risk of developing osteoporosis (porous bone), which may lead to fractures as a result of weakened bones. People, especially women, eventually lose bone density in aging.  

Calcium is also vital to our health because of its role in the release of hormones, transmission of messages through the nerves, and muscle contraction. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body takes calcium reserves from your bones to sustain normal cell function. This can result in weakened bones.

Teens need about 1,300 mg of calcium daily. You can get it from fruits and vegetables, dairy products (yogurt, low-fat milk, and cheese), soy foods (soy milk, tofu, soy yogurt, tempeh, and cooked soybeans), beans, canned fish, beans, and calcium-fortified foods.

If you had enough calcium and lived an active life when you were little and continue to do so in your teenage years, you’ll have the strongest bones possible when you enter adulthood.