Healthy strong bones are vital to overall health and quality of life. Calcium is a very essential mineral to ensure strong, healthy bones and teeth. Getting enough calcium is important especially during childhood, while the bones are still growing and during the senior years, as older bones become more brittle and easily fractured. Lack of calcium increases your risk of osteoporosis.
* Calcium Requirement based on age :
- 0 to 6 months: 300 milligrams (mg) per day
- 7 months to 1 year: 400 mg
- 1 to 3 years: 500 mg
- 4 to 6 years: 600 mg
- 7 to 9 years : 700mg
- 10 to 18 years: 1,000 mg
- 19 to 50 years : 800mg
- 51years and above : 1,000mg
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 1,000 mg
Many foods such as dairy products contain a high amount of calcium. Top of the list calcium-rich choices include:
- Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt
- Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Foods fortified with calcium such as tofu, cereals and soymilk
We need a balanced diet and that includes enough protein and Vitamin D to help absorb calcium into our bones. Vitamin D promotes better absorption of calcium in the intestine and can be obtained from the food we eat such as cheese, eggs, fish and from sunlight. Suffering from broken or fractured bones? Consume more foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D can aid in the healing process of broken bones.
However, there are foods that can cause bones degeneration. It is best to reduce or avoid consuming food that is high in fats, sodium, salt and sugar. Reduce your caffeine intake as it may decrease calcium absorption in the body. Tips - If you had a cup of tea, make sure you have a glass of milk or a slice of cheese later in the day. This is to add a bit more calcium to your diet and balance it out.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol as smoking can prevent oestrogen from protecting your bones and alcohol reduces bone formation.
Exercise is as important as eating well in helping your bones stays healthy and strong. Exercises such as walking, aerobics, basketball and weightlifting will definitely do you good.