It is important to strengthen our body with calcium because our bones are constantly undergoing remodeling (bones are being broken down and reformed). As this occurs, bone calcium is being redeposited. Adequate calcium intake ranges from 210 mg/day for babies under 6 months to 1200mg/day for adults over the age of 50. Most people need to increase their daily calcium intake, and there are several easy ways to make this happen:
Eat Foods High in Calcium
Good sources of calcium include:
- dairy products
By increasing the amounts of food eaten from this category of the food pyramid, you will increase your bone calcium. If calories are a concern, there are many non-fat and reduced fat products that still provide the same amount of calcium as their more fattening counterparts.
Replace Water in Recipes
Another easy way to add dietary calcium is to use non-fat or low-fat milk whenever a recipe calls for water. You can do this with pancakes, waffles, mashed potatoes, pudding, and hot cereal.
Use Calcium Fortified Juices and Foods
Many products come with “calcium added.” These are often in products such as soy milk, orange juice, and fortified cereals. There are even some fortified water drinks available.
Substituting milk for soda and sugary juices is an excellent idea for all family members.
Eat More Vegetables
A healthy salad with dark, leafy vegetables and nuts is a good source of additional calcium.
Use More Grated Cheese
Sprinkle grated cheese on pasta or vegetable dishes, or add some grated cheese to soups.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps with absorption of calcium so you need to be sure you are getting enough. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish and in some fortified cereal and bread products. Going outside in sunlight (wearing sunscreen, of course) will increase your Vitamin D levels.
Take Dietary Supplements
If you aren’t getting enough calcium from the foods you are eating, you should check with your health practitioner about taking calcium supplements.
Exercise will help your bones by increasing their density and making them work harder. Weight bearing exercise, such as walking, running, lifting weights or dancing will help make your bones strong. Cutting down on smoking and drinking alcohol and coffee will avoid the stripping of calcium that occurs with the consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes.