Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting calcium can be easier than you think

By Alison

Calcium is not just for women suffering from bone loss. It's a mineral we all need, no matter what our gender or age. We learn at a young age the importance of calcium in bone and teeth development. But did you know it also helps in muscle contraction, blood clotting, protects against high blood pressure and may aid in the prevention of high blood cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity?

The article How to Boost Your Calcium, from Julie's Health Club (Chicago Tribune, 9/25), offers a snapshot on how much calcium your body needs, food sources, and what the deal is with calcium supplements. The article is geared toward a woman looking to prevent bone loss, but much of the information is applicable to all of us.

To elaborate on the article, healthy men and women age 19-50 years old need approximately 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Men and women age 51-70 years old need approximately 1,200 mg per day.

How can you reach 1,000 mg per day?
  • One 8 oz glass of low-fat milk split in your cereal and morning coffee = 300 mg
  • One 8 oz low-fat yogurt as a morning snack = 300 mg
  • One slice of mozzarella cheese on your sandwich = 184 mg
  • One cup (8 fl. oz.) low-fat frozen yogurt for dessert = 200 mg
  • One cup cooked broccoli at dinner = 94 mg
Even vegetarians can find sources of calcium in vegetables, fruits like oranges, soy milk, blackstrap molasses and tofu.

It is best to get your calcium from low-fat, healthy foods like those mentioned above and in the article. If for some reason you cannot meet your calcium needs through food, then supplements may be a wise choice. Read more about what to look for when choosing calcium supplements here.

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