Today I taught a class on Calcium. I know, there are more exciting ways to spend one's time than to learn about a bone-strengthening nutrient (although, admittedly, I find it fascinating!). Having a grandmother who was once a tall 5'7" now bent into a literal up-side-down 'L' shape due to osteoperosis, I have particular interest in attaining enough of this mighty nutrient. So I realize what I'm about to say is nothing new: Overall, we need more caclium. The question then becomes, how much do we need?
Women continually ask about calcium supplements. Supplements are helpful, yes, and there are a variety to sort through at the supermarket or health food store. But I suggest you first look at your diet. Are you consuming calcium on a regular basis? Take inventory on your average food intake...and don't simply look for milk and milk products. Whole food sources are your best bet when it comes to nutrient intake.
These foods all contain fair amounts of calcium:
- fortified juices
- soy products
- broccoli (2 1/4 cups contains as much calcium as 1 cup of milk!)
- Chinese cabbage
- leafy greens
- sesame seeds
- flax seeds
The list goes on... on average, American women need 1200 - 1500 mg. of calcium per day, in doses of no more than 500 mg. at a time. Rather than walking around as a human calculator, enjoy a variety of nutritious foods, including those listed above. Take a basic multi-vitamin, which will add to your calcium intake. If you have osteoperosis in your family, know that you have low-bone density and/or consume few calcium-including foods, take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D added (Vitamin D allows for calcium absorption)...and wa-lah! You, your bones, your teeth and you lifestyle will be improved.
Make calcium intake fun!
Place frozen berries, 1 cup soymilk, 2 T. nonfat dry milk powder, 1 tsp. flax seed and 1/2 cup orange juice in a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy! (Contains roughly 1/2 your calcium intake for a day!)
For more information on calcium and the types of supplements available, visit: