We often hear on the radio and television, doctors and specialists saying that we do not get enough Calcium in our diets, mainly because we do not eat correctly. Just how important is calcium and how do we get “enough”?
Not only is it important for good strong teeth and bones, but it also helps the kidneys, nerves, heart and muscles function properly. I think the benefit in preventing or slowing down Osteoporosis is well documented, and we have blogged about that on a previous ocassion. It is generally recommended that you take in 1000 – 1200 mg of Calcium a day. the best way to get this is through dairy products. However, there is a down side as most dairy products contain saturated fats and cholesterol! So clearly, this is not a healthy trade-off, as it will increase your chances of heart disease and put on some unwanted kilograms. So how do you get enough, but avoid the down side?
One way would be to take low-fat dairy products, which has just as much calcium as the high fat dairy products! So thats good news. Also, there are other sources of calcium other than dairy products. You need to bear in mind, that there are people out there who may be lactose intolerant, or even out of choice.
Some examples of non-dairy calcium sources:
– dried beans or peas
– canned fish
If you had to ask the question whether we get enough calcium then the answer will be a definite…No! If you following a reduced calorie diet plan you will not be getting the required amount. Logically if you reducing calories you reducing intake of your food which contain calcium.If we wanted to get enough calcium from food alone, we would have to eat 3-4 healpings of high calcium foods every day. So if you following a reduced calories diet, take some calcium supplements. In fact, women, who are at risk of osteoporosis, should be taking calcium supplements anyway.
The amount of bone that you build up when you are young is called your Peak Bone Mass. when this is reached, your bones will be the strongest they will ever be in your life. As you enter your 20′s they do not build mass anymore, and it is from that point on that you need to take care of them.
So, you need to do this:
– Eat enough calcium foods, and/or supplements
– exercise regularly
– avoid, unhealthy low calorie diets
– if you are at risk of osteoporosis (family history of it), or are post-menopausal, consult your doctor
– avoid smoking