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Calcium is a mineral that is well known for its role in building strong bones and teeth. If you don’t have sufficient in your diet, you run the risk of your body taking what it needs from your bones – putting you at risk for diseases such as osteoporosis that will ultimately cause you to have brittle bones and put you at an increased risk of fractures.
To ensure that you don’t fall victim to osteoporosis, it’s necessary to consume sufficient calcium – on a daily basis – and perform weight-bearing exercises. So how much should you be taking in, on a daily basis, and where can you get this?
It depends on your age
The Office of Dietary Supplements, at the National Institutes of Health, lists the following recommended doses:
|Age in years||Gender||Dosage|
|1 – 3||Men/Women||700 mg/day|
|4 – 8||Men/Women||1 000 mg/day|
|9 – 18||Men/Women||1 300 mg/day|
|19 – 50||Men/Women||1 000 mg/day|
|50 – 70||Men/Women||1 000 mg/day|
|< 70||Men/Women||1 200mg/day|
What are the best sources?
A mmon misconception is that milk is the best source of calcium. Although dairy products are still one of the top sources of calcium out there, the University of Maryland Medical Centre gives other examples of foods which are rich in this mineral. Their list includes:
- Green leafy vegetables, e.g. broccoli, cabbage and turnips,
- Salmon and sardines, which are canned with their soft bones,
- Brazil nuts,
- Sunflower seeds,
- Tahini, and
- Dried beans.
There are a number of calcium supplements on the market but be careful of only relying on these for your daily intake of calcium. A rule of thumb is to take these supplements but also to have a good intake of calcium-rich foods in your diet.
Vitamin D is essential for your body to absorb calcium
For the calcium you consume to be absorbed into your body, you need to have the right amount of vitamin D in your body. Experts at Rochester University say that you need to take in at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, which you can get from fortified foods, supplements or 30 minutes in the sun daily.