Calcium Sources for Children
Dairy products are good sources of calcium. Milk has 300 mg calcium per 8-ounce serving. This represents slightly less than 25% of the 1300 mg per day recommended for adolescents. Lactaid, which is available in drugstores, contains an enzyme that breaks down milk sugar and makes it possible for people who are lactose intolerant to drink milk. Since Lactaid breaks the more complex lactose into two single sugars, milk becomes sweeter after it is added. In class, students can taste milk before and after adding Lactaid, and observe how the milk becomes sweeter.
Cheese contains less calcium per serving than does milk. However, calcium-fortified orange juice provides the same amount of calcium as an equal serving of milk.
Calcium supplements are also useful, but must be taken more than once over the course of each day in order to be absorbed properly by the body. With the exception of broccoli, most vegetables are less reliable sources of calcium, because the calcium they contain cannot be digested easily and made available to the body.
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This work was supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA cooperative agreement NCC 9-58.