You Probably Aren’t Getting Enough Calcium

‘Tis the season to see lots of bones … hanging from doorways or sticking out of lawns. This should serve as a great reminder to take better care of your body’s framework. Are you keeping your bones healthy by getting enough calcium?

Unless you are taking supplements or are enjoying a 4,000 calorie diet, I can almost guarantee you aren’t getting enough. I’m not for sure, and I know I have to focus on ingesting more calcium or buy some supplements … today. It has been a long time since I poured myself a glass of milk, and even though I love cheese and yogurt, I’m not eating them routinely. As you can see in the chart below, from the age of nine, we should be upping our intake.

How much calcium do you need?

           AGE        CALCIUM (mg)

 1 – 3                500
4 – 8                800
9 – 18             1300
19 – 50            1000
51+             1200

I have two boys about to turn nine. I am sure they are not getting 1300mg of calcium every single day. Because I am concerned about the obesity crisis in our country and how it will affect my kids, I’m not interested in shoveling more food and high caloric drinks into their mouths in the name of better health. This week, I am going to pay close attention to what they consume on average in one day, and if the calcium content is lacking, I will pick up some supplements. Even the sugary or chocolate ones will be better than adding a daily, extra serving of high-sugar yogurt or processed cheese.

How much calcium is in your food?
Here are some examples:

Milk (1 cup) 300mg

Ice Cream (1 cup) 200mg

Yogurt (1 cup) 450mg

Mozzarella cheese (1 oz) 200mg

Broccoli (1 cup) 180mg

Spinach (1 cup cooked) 240mg

Orange juice fortified (1 cup) 300mg

Cereals fortified — (1 cup) 250 -1000

Oatmeal (1 package) — 100mg

Tofu, some fish, sesame seeds and almonds contain relatively high level of calcium.

In general, I always think it is better to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, rather than in the quick pop form. There are times though, it seems impossible to eat enough food in a day to meet all of our daily requirements and not gain 5 lbs. This is when I turn to supplements.

Our endocrinologist recommends these high calcium chocolates. Each has 500mg of calcium, and if you and/or your kids can stop at just one or two, these are a nice way to get a sweet fix, while keeping calories low and health benefit high. Each piece has 500mg of calcium and 30 calories. You can buy them on Amazon.

If you need further incentive, remember our bodies cannot produce their own calcium. It is an essential mineral which keeps our bones strong, gives our muscles, including our heart, the ability to contract and enables our blood to clot. It is important to form strong bones and teeth at a young age and to maintain them as we age. 44 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis. Prevention is our best defense.

 

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Physician, founder and president of Tips From Town. She loves combining all she learned as a doctor with all she continues to learn as a mom of five to bring you interesting, useful and fun information on the Family Pages.