These three minerals are essential for children

These three minerals are essential for children

Three minerals constitute 98% of body’s weight and are critical for children growth and development are calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Apart from being component of human skeleton, both calcium and phosphorus are involved in many biochemical reactions at cellular level.

Without magnesium there are many metabolic functions that cannot happen.

Which are the foods that supply these three mineral nutrients for the young body?

Phosphorus: Present in both vegetables and animal foods. If your child is vegan or vegetarian some of the sources where you can find phosphorus are: Plant foods like beans, soybeans, potato with skin, mushroom (portabellow), rice bran, wheat bran, cooked oatmeal, cheddar, cheese, sunflower seeds without shell, almonds, cashew – contain high amount of phosphorus.

Phosphorus helps to maintain normal acid/base balance and it is also involved in storage and use of energy for various body functions.

Calcium: Calcium is present in turnip greens, spinach, buttermilk, soy beverage, cheese, yogurt tofu, sesame, almonds, beans goats’ milk, cashew etc. Calcium is rich in milk and dairy products, dark green and leafy vegetables. Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones, teeth, prevents osteoporosis and helps muscles to work.

Magnesium: Present in many plant vegetables. It is present in tamarind, cooked – potato with skin, okra, spinach, swiss chard , cereals, quinoa, soy milk and cheese, legumes, peas, tofu, beans, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, almonds, cashew etc. Magnesium is essential for every day metabolism, to produce protein and to keep nerves and muscle healthy.

These minerals absorptions influenced by different factors. Hormones and vitamin levels in the body influences absorption of all three minerals. Young healthy children generally are not under nourished with phosphorus and magnesium because these minerals are easily absorbed. It is unlikely that children need phosphorous supplementation because of relatively high usual dietary phosphorus intake. Magnesium supplementation on daily basis or routinely is not needed. Calcium absorption in infants is easy and the rate of calcium absorption is more when there is lactose, lysine, arginine and vitamin C is around. However, calcium intake is generally low in children. Reason for this is, avoiding dairy foods. Young girls who are afraid of consuming fat are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis before they reach middle age. Calcium absorption decreases by high dietary level of phosphate and oxalate that is present in high fiber food. Too much protein in the diet increases excretion of calcium through urine thus making less available for bone growth and development.

To determine whether your child needs dietary supplements of calcium or any other nutrients talk to your pediatrician. Doctors will evaluate the necessary amount of calcium and will suggest the dosage of supplements.


Image credit : Food photo created by freepik – (Free for commercial use)

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: April 27, 2023

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