Calcium is a mineral that is important for your health and in particular, your bones. Research indicates long-term, daily calcium intake is required to best promote bone health.
No matter what your age, it is never too late to invest in your bone health. Your bones are like a bank account; the more calcium you deposit when you are young (under age 30), the more you have to draw from later.
Sources of Calcium
Try to get as much calcium as you can through food. You can find calcium in low fat dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk; soybeans; and enriched grains; and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens. Strive to include two to four servings of dairy per day, which should help increase your calcium level.
If you are not getting the adequate amount of calcium through diet alone, you should speak to your physician about taking a calcium supplement.
How Much Do You Need?
Cooper Clinic recommendations are based on the latest scientific research as it pertains to your health. Cooper Clinic recommends the following for daily calcium intake:
- Men and Women Ages 19-50: 1,000 mg
- Men Ages 51-70: 1,000 mg
- Women Ages 51+ and Men Ages 71+: 1,200 mg
To determine the amount of calcium in food products, if you’re reading food labels and it says 20 percent calcium, replace the percent sign with a zero to get the total milligrams. For example, 20 percent would be the same as 200 milligrams of calcium.
Don’t Forget Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates the intake of calcium into your bones. So if you’re getting calcium from diet or supplements but your vitamin D levels are low, it’s not going to be absorbed as well. Cooper Clinic recommends getting at least 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily, which will help with the absorption of calcium into the bones. There are only a few foods containing vitamin D and fairly low levels, therefore supplementation is typically needed.
Studies indicate that up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Next time you see your doctor, request to have your blood levels of vitamin D tested to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency.
Add Strength Training
The Cooper philosophy is that supplementation supports good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, in addition to consuming calcium through food and supplements to support bone health, it’s important to remember that regular exercise is a cornerstone of building and maintaining healthy bones. Both weight-bearing activities and strength training are important for best results. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking and running, as well as tennis, Zumba and dance, provide compression forces on bone, while strength training provides bending force. Both types are important for bone strength and integrity.
As with everything else, be mindful of where you need to be to keep your bones strong.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.