Protect Bone Health With Calcium
- Tuesday, 13 September 2011
We all know we need our bones, so why do so many studies continue to show that Americans are not eating the calcium they need to protect bone health? What is also concerning is the sedentary lifestyle from working at a desk, driving, and increased screen time with computers, tablets, and TV watching. Whatever the reason, millions of women and men are at risk of acquiring a debilitating disease called osteoporosis, which occurs when bones become weak, brittle and break easily as a result of low calcium and vitamin D intake and inadequate weight bearing activity.
Weight bearing activities such as Pilates fusion, dancing, walking and weight training are all good ways to maintain bone density and reduce your risk for osteoporosis. These types of exercises force your body to work against gravity, as opposed to swimming and bike riding, where you are not supporting your own body weight. The National Institute of Health recommends you achieve at least 30 minutes of weight bearing activity most days of the week. Do not be overwhelmed if that seems like a lot, start small. Sign up for classes at a local studio where you can reach your exercise goals while having a great time with certified instructors.
Nutrition is also a big factor when it comes to bone health. In addition to being a critical building block for our bones, calcium has been shown to be beneficial to the overall health and well-being of post-menopausal women. Adequate intake of this essential mineral is the main way to prevent bone loss. It is a common misunderstanding that only older women need to be concerned about brittle bones. In fact, the best way to maintain your bone density is to start protecting your bone health early on. Getting enough calcium from your food is the easiest way to meet your needs and luckily calcium-rich foods are often fortified with vitamin D.
A study conducted at the University of Maryland’s Center for Food, Nutrition and Policy, discovered that millions of Americans are not getting enough calcium in their diet. In fact, they found that the average calcium intake among females ages 9 -18, the age when most bone accrual takes place, was only 814 milligrams per day. That is considerably less than the recommended intake of 1,300 milligrams.
Recommended daily intake of calcium for individuals ages 19 - 50 is 1,000 milligrams per day. For those over the age of 50 the recommendation increases to 1,200 milligrams.
The good news is that there is a wide array of healthy, tasty products on the market that can make it easy to get your recommended daily intake. Some of these include diary or calcium-fortified products such as milk, yogurt, almond milk, fortified soy milk and Swiss, provolone or mozzarella cheese. One serving of these foods will provide about 25-35% of your daily needs. Non dairy foods are also good sources of calcium. These include canned salmon with bones, calcium-fortified orange juice, kale, bok choy, broccoli, almonds, sesame seeds and tofu.
Try adding one of these calcium-rich meals into your day to help meet your needs:
1 cup plain organic yogurt with 1/4 cup sliced almonds and 1/2 cup blueberries. Add 8 oz calcium-fortified orange juice.
Roasted teriyaki tofu with broccoli, brown rice and sesame seeds.
Baked salmon with sautéed kale served with a toasted baguette topped with melted provolone cheese and sliced tomato.
According to the USDA we only absorb about 500 - 600 milligrams of calcium at one time. Be aware that if you are relying solely on supplementation, you need to split up your dose and take one in the morning and one in the evening.
By Sumner Brooks, Registered Dietician for RockIt Body Pilates. Find her at NotOnADiet.com