Building Strong Bones: Nutritional Musts for Young Athletes

Did you know that during adolescence, what you eat plays a big role in building strong bones? Calcium and vitamin D are the dynamic duo that help lay down the foundation for healthy bones. Calcium provides the building blocks, while vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Plus, a little sunshine can help your body make vitamin D too! Check out the importance of calcium and vitamin D, what foods they are most abundant in, and why dairy products, like milk, are superstars for growing athletes.

Calcium: The Superhero for Strong Bones

  • Calcium is like the superhero nutrient that your bones love. It helps bones develop and grow, as well as aids in bone health as you age.
  • Calcium is most abundant in dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Leafy greens (think spinach and kale), oranges, seeds (chia, sesame), tofu, fortified soy milk, and fortified cereals also contain some calcium as well.

Vitamin D: The Sidekick for Calcium Absorption

  • Vitamin D is like the trusty sidekick that helps your body soak up all the calcium goodness.
  • Guess what? Your body can make vitamin D when you spend just 10-15 minutes outside in the sun each day. The goal is to be outside, with most of your skin exposed, during the sun’s strongest rays around mid-day.
  • If sunshine is hiding, you can also find vitamin D in fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel), milk and other fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.

Why Dairy Products, like Milk, Rock for Growing Athletes

  • Drumroll, please! Dairy products, especially milk, are true bone-building champions.
  • Milk isn’t just a delicious drink; it’s packed with the calcium and vitamin D your bones need to grow strong. Plus, it packs 8 grams of high-quality protein per cup to help strengthen muscles as well.
  • Dairy milk is an affordable, convenient option for providing athletes with nutrients and protein. One of the best ways for youth athletes to get more milk in their eating plan is grab a bottle at breakfast and lunch from the school cafeteria!

When it comes to strong bones, what you eat (and drink!) matters, especially during your growing years. Calcium and vitamin D are the dynamic duo that support bone health, and they can be found in a variety of delicious foods. Dairy products, like milk, provide a winning combination of calcium and vitamin D, making them the go-to choice for young athletes. So, raise a glass of milk and toast to building strong bones for a lifetime of active and healthy living. Cheers to your bone health success!