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Ten Calcium Tips

Fitness for mind and body.

First, a Few Facts
The daily-recommended amount of calcium is 1,000mg daily if you are under age 50 and 1,200 to 1,500mg if you are 50 or older. Aim for 400 IU a day of vitamin D. People over 70 need 600 IU.

Calcium containing foods

While it is best to get your nutrients from the foods you are eating, in today's society that is very difficult. Here are some guidelines to aid you in knowing just how much calcium you may wish to take to compensate for a lack of calcium in your diet:

  • Limit the amount of your calcium supplement to 500mg if you are under 50 and 1,000mg if you are over 50. The most beneficial food to get your calcium from is low-fat dairy foods. These also contain other nutrients important for bone health including phosphorus and magnesium. For best absorption, do not forget to divide your calcium intake over the day. This will help keep you from exceeding 500mg at one time.
  • In addition, please take note of the fact that this is not advice pertaining to women only. An estimated 2-million men have osteoporosis and an estimated 18-million more people have low bone mass, placing them at an increased risk for osteoporosis as well as fractures.

Three Snacks to Increase Calcium Intake

  1. Trade one of your daily fruits for a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice.
  2. Stir fresh fruit into a cup of low-fat or fat-free yogurt for a light lunch or midday snack.
  3. Pour one cup fat-free milk over a bowl of your favorite cereal for a bedtime snack.

Lower Your Risk

Get tested. Have your bone density tested to see if you are or are not at risk or worse, already in the beginning stages of osteoporosis - which has no symptoms at the onset. Factors that put you in a higher risk category are:

  • A diet low in calcium, lack of exercise
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight
  • Smoking
  • Medications such as corticosteroids and anti-convulsants
  • A broken bone as an adult and low testosterone levels in men.
  • Double the reason to be tested if you fall into any of these categories.

Moderate to vigorous activities such as dancing, aerobic exercise and tennis get your pulse racing and can reduce your risk of hip fractures by up to 45 percent.

Finally! The Ten Tips

  1. Weight-bearing exercise and impact loading stimulate bone growth. Generally, three 20 to 30 minute sessions a week are sufficient. If you can and want to do more, go for it! Activities such as walking, running, aerobics or climbing stairs are also excellent forms of exercise to aid in bone growth.
  2. Incorporate calcium rich foods into your diet as much as possible. Dairy products and calcium-fortified foods as mentioned earlier are great choices. Try to get between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams a day.
  3. Do not shy away from dairy products because of the fat content. We now can purchase just about any dairy product available in a low/non-fat version. Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, all come in low-fat or non-fat varieties.
  4. Consider vitamin K. This vitamin switches on a bone-building protein called osteocalcin. Experts say 100 micrograms (mcg) a day may be best for bone building. Food sources include spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, coleslaw and collard greens.
  5. Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk because it accelerates the metabolism of estrogen, making less available to stimulate bone growth.
  6. Eat cereals fortified with vitamin D. For your body to absorb and deposit the calcium you get from food, you need vitamin D.
  7. The supplement option. There is always the supplement choice! Our bodies absorb calcium carbonate - the type of calcium in the supplement doctors recommend the most - just as well as calcium citrate.
  8. Set a time to take that supplement! Plan to take your calcium at a specific time each day to make taking it a habit.
  9. Make it magnesium. This mineral actually makes up part of your bone. Your daily goal should be 400 milligrams. Good food sources include nuts, dried beans, crabmeat, spinach, wheat germ, wheat bran and chocolate - yes, chocolate!
  10. Fortify with calcium. If you do not enjoy foods high in calcium or suffer from lactose intolerance, look for foods fortified with calcium. Cranberry juice and breakfast bars are good choices.

Is your calcium supplement providing as much calcium as you think? Read the label to check the per-tablet amount. For best absorption, experts suggest you take no more than 500 milligrams at one time. Choose a supplement that provides 500mg per dose.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.