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Ways to Add More Calcium to the Diet

Discussion in 'Health & Nutrition' started by Barbara G., Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Barbara G.

    Barbara G. Moderator Staff Member Member

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    Calcium is a nutrient that has many uses in our bodies. The most prominent of these is it helps our bodies maintain strong and healthy bones. Everybody needs calcium regardless of age, gender or race. Insufficient intake of calcium can result to serious health problems later. Osteoporosis is one of the examples. It is a condition where the bones loses mass and density. As a result, the bones become weak and therefore more prone to fractures.

    Two other nutrients worth mentioning are vitamins D and K. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium while vitamin K directs calcium to our skeletons.

    Our bodies get calcium from the food we eat. However, if it is not getting enough calcium from what we eat or drink, our bodies will get the calcium that is stored in our bones. This is where problems arise. Eating right is the only way to supply the body’s need for calcium. It can be a real help if we know which foods are rich in calcium.

    But before we go on a calcium hunt, let us first find out how much calcium our bodies require. After all, too much of a good thing is not good at all.

    At different stages in life, we need different amounts of calcium. These stages are divided according to our age. Here is a simple guide when considering calcium in your diet.

    0-6 months --------- 210 mg / day

    7-12 months ------- 270 mg/ day

    1-3 years -----------500 mg / day

    4-8 years ---------- 800 mg/ day

    9-18 years -------- 1,300 mg / day

    19-50 years ------- 1,000 mg / day

    50+ years --------- 1,200 mg/ day

    Easy ways to get it into our diet

    Here are some easy ways of getting calcium into your body. The rule of thumb is still to eat healthy varied diet.

    1. Dairy. These include milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk based product. However, for people who are lactose intolerant this may not be the right option.

    2. Green leafy vegetables, soya milk or tofu. These are good source of calcium. Either incorporate them in your cooking or eat them as salads. If you are the type that doesn’t like to eat veggies, a cookbook may prove useful.

    3. Sea foods. Fish and other marine products are also rich in calcium. If canned fish such as tuna or salmon is your choice, don’t forget to read the label as some ingredients may not be suitable for you. Some canned products may have high salt content.

    4. Nuts and Fruits. These can take the place of your usual caffeine loaded snack. Besides, caffeine depletes our bodies of calcium. Aside from dozens of benefits from eating nuts and fruits, they have significant levels of calcium which when incorporated into our regular diet, can be a big help in our calcium requirement.

    An important note to remember; if you have other medical conditions make it a point to consult a health professional before changing your diet.
     
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  3. christine

    christine Active Member Member

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    I tried to eat dark leafy green veggies everyday. Looks like I need to give my son, who is 12, more calcium.
     
  4. Barbara G.

    Barbara G. Moderator Staff Member Member

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    I have worked in the medical field for some time in this area and it is really important for children to get enough calcium. One way we explain it to them it is like a "Calcium Bank." And they need to make regular deposits to ensure they have healthy bones.
     
  5. Geri K

    Geri K Active Member Member

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    Barbara, do you think that calcium supplements are a good idea? I know that getting calcium from food is probably the better alternative but was just wondering.
     
  6. Barbara G.

    Barbara G. Moderator Staff Member Member

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    It is always best to get calcium from your foods. And it cannot be consumed all at once - it needs to be spread out throughout the day. If you are looking to consume 1200 mg per day of calcium, then three meals with 300 mg will give you a good start. Then, you can add some cheese (or other calcium rich food) to a snack to make up the difference.

    Also, there are three different kinds of calcium. Calcium carbonate is less expensive and highly recommended due to the fact it generally does not cause stomach upset. It is recommended by a higher percentage of physicians that I have worked with (many of them bone specialists).

    I have done many bone density scans in my medical career and supplements are needed at times in life to help prevent bone loss. Normally, you see this more later in life but kids can also have problems with not enough calcium in the bones.
     
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  8. LoveTheOutdoors

    LoveTheOutdoors Member Member

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    I knew about requirements for adults, but did not realize they have those for children. I guess it would make sense to have them as a guideline for all age levels.
     
  9. Geri K

    Geri K Active Member Member

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    Barbara, thank you for this information on calcium. I did not realize that seafood had calcium in it and even tuna.
     
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  10. christine

    christine Active Member Member

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    Yes, this is very helpful. I know that I don't eat enough veggies to get the required amounts, so I take supplements. Right now I'm taking calcium 500 mg, magnesium 250 mg and vitamin D 700 iu all in one vitamin.
     

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