No Bones About It, Calcium Counts OR Bone Up on Calcium
Osteoporosis is a serious health concern affecting approximately one in four women and one in eight men. Characterized by loss of bone strength often leading to fractures, this debilitating disease can be prevented.
You’ve likely heard that calcium is important to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. As stated by the Canadian Medical Association, it is important that teens and premenopausal women consume 1300 and 1000 mg of calcium per day respectively. After menopause, women’s calcium needs increase to 1500 mg daily. This is the same for men.
*[Image Goes Here]* Consuming calcium rich foods along with regular weight bearing activity can help to prevent osteoporosis. Consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet in accordance with
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating will also help ensure you get the other nutrients needed for bone health, such as Vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorous, and protein.
Calcium-rich foods such as dairy products have been targeted as “fattening” by some uninformed sources. Fortunately this is not true as most dairy products come in low fat varieties. Try 1% milk or low-fat yogurt. If you’re a cheese-lover give skim-milk mozzarella a try, you’ll significantly decrease the amount of fat you eat and provide your body with plenty of nutrients including calcium.
There are many alternatives to dairy products for sources of calcium. Fortified soy or rice beverages, broccoli, bok choy, kale, sardines with bones, almonds and even fortified orange juice contain calcium. However, vegetable sources contain smaller amounts of calcium compared to dairy products.
Even with all of these food choices, many people still believe they can’t get enough calcium in their diet to meet their needs. Try adding the following calcium-rich foods to your meals to see how easy it is to get 1350 mg of calcium in one day: *[Image Goes Here]*
If you are eating calcium-rich foods at every meal, you probably don’t need a calcium supplement. However if you are not drinking milk or fortified soy or rice beverages, then you should consider taking a calcium supplement with Vitamin D. It is rarely necessary to take a magnesium or phosphorous supplement. Check with your Physician, Registered Dietitian, or Pharmacist first to determine the type and amount of Calcium supplement that is best for you.
For a larger list of calcium containing foods, visit the Dietitians of Canada web site www.dietitians.ca/english/frames.html and click on “Factsheets”.
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