Eat Calcium-Rich Foods to Maintain Good Bone Health

why you need calciumWe all need the right amount of calcium in our diet throughout our lives – when we’re growing, we need calcium to build strong, dense bones and as we age, calcium is vital for maintaining strength and health in our bones. This essential mineral also helps our blood to clot, our nerves to send messages and our muscles to contract.

As our bodies cannot produce calcium, we need to take enough in daily to replenish what we lost through skin, sweat, hair and bodily functions such as peeing. A calcium deficiency can lead to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis, where the bones become more fragile and can fracture more easily.

Men and women both need around 1000mg of calcium daily – after the age of 50, women should up that intake to around 1200mg while men should up theirs to 1200mg after the age of 70.

The best source of calcium is food; for example, dairy is particularly rich in the mineral – go for low-fat milk, cheese products and yogurt. Other foods that are know for their calcium content include leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, mustard greens and broccoli; beets and carrots; celery, aubergine and tomatoes; eggs and sardines; chickpeas, soybeans and almonds. Fruits such as bananas, strawberries, apricots and oranges are also good for daily calcium intake.

As well as ensuring your diet is filled with calcium-rich food, you should also consider doing weight-bearing exercise to help improve your bone health. Walking and cycling are good, while strength training that maintains muscle mass is also important.

Some people turn to calcium supplements for a boost when their diet isn’t enough to give them the daily intake they require. If you do believe you are calcium deficient, it would be prudent to discuss things with your doctor who can advise on diet changes as well as how much you should take from a calcium supplement.

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