Calcium is a key nutrient needed to help maintain good health. It has many functions, ranging from enabling blood clotting, to enabling nerve and muscle functioning and building strong bones and teeth. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 50% of women over the age of fifty, will suffer from broken bones or osteoporosis.
But how do you really know whether you’re getting enough calcium, and where do you find it? In this post, we will discover more about calcium.
You’ve probably heard your dentist recommend a calcium toothpaste, and while that is good for your teeth, it is not enough to keep the rest of your body healthy. You also need to consume calcium from a range of different food sources to stay healthy. Everyone needs a different amount of calcium, depending on their individual needs, i.e.
- Babies under 1 year: 400-600 mg
- Toddlers and Children: 800 mg
- Ages 10-18: 1,200 – 1, 500 mg
- Adults: 1,200 mg
- Pregnant mothers: 1, 500 – 2,000 mg
- Lactating mothers: 1, 200 – 1, 500 mg
- Seniors: 1, 500 mg
Include Calcium Rich Foods in Your Diet
Dairy is the best source of calcium, so it is a good idea to include yogurt, milk and cheese in your diet. If you are lactose intolerant, or if you want to include non-dairy calcium rich foods in your diet, the following foods are great choices:
- dark green leafy vegetables (collard greens, turnips and kale)
- oily fish such as sardines
- tofu soymilk and fortified foods and beverages, such as cereal and orange juice.
Maximize Your Body’s Calcium Uptake
If you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, your body may start taking it out of your bones and causing them to become weaker. Magnesium and calcium work together to make the most of your calcium uptake, so be sure to take a calcium and magnesium supplement. Follow these strategies to ensure your body absorbs as much calcium as possible:
1. Embrace physical activity
Exercises such as weightlifting, skiing, dancing, running and walking are great strong bone exercises.
2. Get sufficient vitamin D
Get sufficient vitamin D from spending at least 20 minutes a day in the sun. Choose a cooler time of the day to go for a walk and to get some sun on your face and arms. It will also boost your good mood!
If you live in a place with little sun, eat more foods that are high in vitamin D, such as eggs, mushrooms and salmon.
3. Increase vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is essential for healthy bones, but most people have never heard of it. It is important in fighting osteoporosis, and can be found in soft cheeses such as brie and gouda, grass fed chicken eggs, and liver.
Finally, your mother has told you, and so has your Toronto dentist: avoid soda pop and other candy. Soda pop contains phosphoric acid, which alter your body’s phosphorous / calcium balance and makes you more prone to fractures and osteoporosis. If you’re unsure as to whether you are getting sufficient calcium in your diet, it may be an idea to get a hair mineral analysis, which will tell you exactly how much of which essential minerals you need more of.