Friday, December 12, 2008

Calcium & Bones Part - 1

I used to think that women don’t have to worry about frail bones until they get older. I was wrong! I found out too late that women of all ages need to take steps to keep their bones strong. Unfortunately, like me, many more women already are at risk for bone weakness. Bone strength in later life depends on the development of bones earlier in life. Adequate calcium intake during youth is essential to achieve peak bone mass.

Everyone knows that calcium is essential for building strong bones and teeth. But did you know that it is also important for maintaining a normal heartbeat and regulating blood pressure – and it even helps with the healthy functioning of your nerve system

There are many diseases that is associated with bone weakness, but to name a few which is very commonly found in women (especially in old age, but not necessarily) are osteoporosis , osteopenia etc.

How can I find out if I have weak bones?
There are tests you can get to find out your bone strength, also called bone density. There are also other types of bone strength tests too. Talk with your doctor about which type of test is best for you. Don’t wait until age 65. You have a higher chance for breaks.

How can I prevent weak bones?
The best way to prevent weak bones is easy―start by building strong ones.
No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start! Although building strong bones during childhood and adolescence is the best. But there are steps you can take to stop your bones from becoming weak and brittle.

  1. Get enough calcium each day (Just a rough estimate) - about 1000 mg till age 50. After which it may need to be increased to 1200 mg.

  2. Get enough vitamin D each day - which helps your body to absorb the calcium.

  3. Healthy diet

  4. Be active

  5. Avoid smoking/alcohol/caffeine

Examples of Calcium-rich Foods
Dairy Foods
(for overall health, choose fat-free or low fat products)
Cheese (5 grams fat or less per ounce)
Non-dairy foods
Chinese cabbage (bok choy), cooked
Figs, dried
Greens (dandelion, kale, mustard, turnip), cooked
Salmon, Sardines, canned with bones
Soy nuts
Fortified foods
(be sure to select foods with calcium added)
Breakfast bars, Granola bars, Cereal bars
Rice milk

To know more varieties of food that contains different amount of calcium content in it you may visit / click this link in blue color.

Reading food labels for calcium content

The food label does not list calcium in milligrams. Instead, the label lists % Daily Value (%DV) for calcium in each serving. 100% of the DV for calcium is equal to 1000 mg of calcium per day.
To find the calcium content (mg per serving) from %Daily Value:
Read the %DV for calcium per serving.For example: 1 serving (1 ounce) lowfat cheese contains 20% Calcium.
Determine the calcium in each serving (mg/serving): Simply replace the % from the DV with a "0."For example: 20% Calcium = 200 mg calcium.

Terminology & Definitions

A "Calcium-fortified" or "Calcium enriched" food has 10% or more of the calcium DV added (100mg or more of calcium is added when compared to the same serving of a similar type of non-fortified food).
An "Excellent source" of calcium contains 20% or more of the calcium DV (200mg or more).
A "Good source" of calcium contains 10% to 19% of the calcium DV (100 to 190mg).

NOTE: At the same time excess of calcium intake may be unwise too. It may result in kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and so on. So it is advisable to stay within the range of daily calcium intake quantity.

To be continued .........................................

Source courtetsy - NY state department of health

Image sourcee - Internet

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