MilkWhat if I told you that you don’t need to give your child milk to meet his/her calcium requirements?

In our society, we are taught that we need to drink milk and eat dairy products in order to get our daily calcium requirements.  The Canadian Food Guide tells us that we need to give our children up to 4 servings of dairy per day mainly for its calcium content.  There is not much promotion of the highly absorbable calcium from plant based foods.  What if your child has a sensitivity, allergy or intolerance to dairy products?  What about those children whose health issues such as asthma, eczema, autism and ADHD could be tied to dairy consumption?  Regardless of whether your child has health issues or not, feeding them plant foods rich in calcium offers an absorbable form of calcium and can help meet all of their daily requirement without relying on dairy products to achieve this.

“Doesn’t my child need milk for healthy bones?” is a question that is often asked at my practice.  The simple answer I give my patients is a big NO and then I follow with a handout on plant-based foods that are rich in calcium.  I also mention to them that dairy consumption does not necessarily protect against bone fractures and osteoporosis.  In fact, the rates of osteoporosis and bone fractures is the lowest in countries where people don’t consume dairy products and the highest in countries that do.

For some children the negative consequences that milk consumption may have on their health may outweigh the benefits of it.  The good news is that nature has many calcium rich foods to offer us that are delicious, inexpensive and readily available.  Here are my top 10 calcium-rich foods:

  1. Sesame seeds (sesame butter aka tahini)
  2. Spinach
  3. Collard greens
  4. Blackstrap molasses
  5. Kelp
  6. Swiss chard
  7. Kale
  8. Brazil nuts
  9. Tofu
  10. Almonds

 

Feeding your child a balanced diet rich in dark leafy greens, fruits, nuts and seeds will ensure he/she gets plenty of calcium plus many other great health benefits.  For those with children with certain health issues, you might even see an improvement upon removing milk from their diet.

Aida MartinezDr. Aida Martinez Chorro is a naturopathic doctor and homeopath who loves working with children and their families. She uses safe and natural interventions to help children with autism, digestive conditions, as well as working with those who want to be proactive about their aging brain and who have family histories of dementia. But what she’s really passionate about is giving families the results they want to see and helping them lead happier lives together.

She practices at the North Toronto Homeopathic Medicine and Wellness Centre in the Yonge and Lawrence neighbourhood. You can find out more information by calling 647-887-8117, by visiting www.draida.ca, or on Facebook at  Natural Health Solutions by Aida Martinez Chorro, Naturopathic doctor.

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