Strong bone development during childhood lays the pillar for good bone health all through life. Childhood is the most important phase of life for bone building, during which the size and strength of the bones develop remarkably. Even though the process of bone growth continues until mid-twenties, 90% of peak bone mass is attained by the age of 18 in girls and by 20 in boys. The bone mass is determined by genetics, but two main factors which also play a role in whether the child achieves his or her bone mass is good nutrition and exercise.
Bone is the rigid organ that protects various organs of the body, make up the red and white blood cells, reserve essential minerals, give structure to the body and support mobility. Bones are of different shape and size, lightweight yet strong and aid several bodily functions.
There are totally about 270 bones present in the human body at birth and during the process of growth, it fuses and brings down the number to 212 separate bones in adults which does not include the many sesamoid bones. The largest bone is thigh bone or femur and the smallest bone is stapes in the middle of the ear.
To maintain the growth and development of healthy bone in children, it is important to add bone-friendly nutrients and plan a healthy diet to augment bone strength. The meal plan should include foods that are a good source of calcium, vitamin D, protein and other essential nutrients like magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin K and A.
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It is also important for the child to be physically active which aid to strengthen the bone muscles. Here we bring you five essential nutrients required to maintain the bone strong and healthy.
Nutrients For Building Bone Health
A diet plentiful in calcium support to build and strengthen the bones. Calcium is one of the common minerals found abundantly in bones and teeth, which is essential in keeping up the bone mass required for sustenance of the skeletal system.
Ensure that your child’s diet is loaded up with a good source of calcium. Dairy and dairy products are the richest sources of calcium, other food sources rich in calcium include almonds, tofu, dried fruits, seafood, legumes, breakfast cereals and juices fortified with calcium. Also Checkout: 5 Foods That Are Incredibly Rich In Calcium: Infographic
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that enables the body to absorb and preserve calcium and phosphorous the vital minerals which play a crucial role in bone development. A diet inadequate in this vitamin elevates the risk of rickets in children, a disorder where the bone becomes fragile.
Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D and food sources that are abundant in vitamin D include egg yolks, fish, mushroom and fortified milk, juices and beverages.
Magnesium is a notable mineral that works in sync with calcium to sustains stronger bones. It also plays a critical role in promoting the hormone calcitonin which is responsible to conserve bone structure by taking calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones. Furthermore, magnesium is also involved in the metabolism of calcium. Also Checkout: 5 Foods Abundant In Magnesium That Are Incredibly Healthy - Infographic
Food rich in magnesium includes whole wheat, quinoa, almonds, green leafy vegetables, peanuts and black legume.
Vitamin K is a vital nutrient that is required for the activation of osteocalcin, a protein that carries calcium from the blood to form a healthy bone matrix. It also works together with calcium to increase bone density.
Some of the dietary sources rich in vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, eggs, fish and meat.
5. Stay Active
Being physically active helps the child to fortify the bone mass and makes them stronger. Ensure that your kid is active and involved in activities like running, dancing, basketball, tennis, football and other weight training workouts to build bones and muscles.