Well-being: Know the importance of calcium
How much calcium is enough? Here are some guidelines and recommendations.
Calcium is not only important for building and maintaining strong bones, it is also important to keep the heart, muscles, and nerves functioning well.
Here are some nutrition tips to maintain and promote healthy bones.
- The daily requirement of calcium for children (4 to 8 years) is 1,000 mg, for adults (20 to 70 years) is 1,000 mg. After the age of 70, you should consume 1,200 mg.
- Dairy products are the best source of calcium
- A cup of milk contains about 300 mg, a cup of yogurt contains 400 mg, and a cup of pudding contains 300 mg
- A cup of calcium fortified soy milk contains between 250 to 300 mg
- One ounce (30 grams) of Swiss cheese contains 270 mg; one ounce of cheddar cheese contains 200 mg; and one ounce of mozzarella cheese contains 185 mg
- Three ounces (90 grams) of canned salmon with edible bones contains 200 mg, while the same serving of canned sardines with edible bones contains 270 mg. Tuna contains less calcium than either canned sardines or salmon with edible bones.
In general, the recommended daily milk requirement is as follows:
- Three cups per day for children, adolescents up to age 20 years, nonpregnant and nonlactating women
- Four cups for pregnant and lactating women
- Three cups for anyone over 70
- Low-fat and nonfat dairy products are preferred to limit your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
To increase your calcium intake, do the following:
- Add low fat dairy products to meals and snacks
- Add low fat cheese, yogurt, sardines, or salmon to salads
- Prepare low fat cheese or labnah sandwiches
- Make low-fat milk pudding or custard topped with nuts
- Consume a milkshake or fruit yogurt as a snack
- Include fortified cereals with your breakfast.
The added benefit is that most of these foods are also rich in Vitamin D. Excessive consumption of beverages containing caffeine is not good for the bones, as caffeine reduces calcium absorption.
Moreover, prescription calcium supplements should be taken between meals as calcium can hinder iron absorption if taken with meals.
Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important to bone health, as it helps calcium deposit in the bones.
The body produces Vitamin D when the sun shines directly on your skin. To enable your body to adequately produce Vitamin D, you need about 20 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight two to three times per week, without applying sun block.
Standing in the sunshine coming through a window does not provide your body with Vitamin D.
In addition, the importance of performing regular exercise, especially strength training, benefits the entire body, including the bones, heart, brain, muscles, lungs, and kidneys. Strength training includes brisk walking, stair climbing, running, jogging, and weight lifting.
Swimming and cycling are excellent for health; however, they are not considered strength training.