Inadequate intake of calcium is one of the main causes of osteoporosis in women. Here is how to add more calcium to your daily diet.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that develops over time. This disease results in an increased risk of fracture. People suffering from osteoporosis are prone to fractures in situations
where normal people would not break the same bone. Osteoporosis is
caused due to reduced bone mineral density (BMD), leading to weakening of the bone structure.
Osteoporosis is perceived as being an old person's disease. This is
because the risks of contracting the disease increase with age. A
person with a family history of osteoporosis is almost eighty percent more likely to suffer from the disease.
The Importance of Calcium
Calcium is the mineral that is associated most closely with bones. It
forms a major component of bones. Almost all the calcium in the human
body is mainly concentrated in bones.
Calcium is what makes bones strong and gives them their hardness.
Calcium also plays a vital role in the clotting of blood as well as the
normal functioning of nerves and muscles
According to the National Academy of Sciences, a woman needs
1300 mg of Calcium daily, when she is between nine and twenty three
years of age. During adulthood, the calcium requirement is 1000 mg per
day while after menopause, it is around 1200 mg per day.
The teenage years are the most important when it comes to calcium
intake. This is because most of the bone building activity takes place
at this age. This is also the age at which an individual experiences a
growth spurt, causing the skeleton to grow as well. An adequate intake
of calcium is necessary at this stage so that the skeleton can cope
with the demands placed on it, in terms of elongating the respective
bones involved in this growth.
After an individual has grown to her adult size, she still
requires calcium as part of her daily diet. The bones of the body
experience wear and tear due to the stress of physical activity placed
on it. Calcium is used to repair the damage done to bone structure.
Calcium required for the body's functions is usually obtained from the
diet. If dietary intake of calcium is insufficient, the body uses the
calcium from the bones to meet its requirements. This weakens the bone
Calcium in the Diet
Genetic factors influencing osteoporosis cannot be
changed. However, an individual can reduce her chances of getting
osteoporosis simply by making sure she consumes the required amount of
calcium every day. Dairy products are the best source of calcium. If you are lactose intolerant, do not worry. There are plenty of
non-dairy alternatives, which you can consume. Besides, many
commercially available foods are now fortified with calcium. In
addition, you can even consume calcium supplements. Here are some of the calcium containing foods and the ways in which you can increase the calcium in your diet.
|Dairy foods||Milk, yoghurt, cheese|
|Leafy green vegetables||Spinach, broccoli, kale|
|Beans and peas||Tofu, soya, peanuts, peas, black beans, baked beans|
|Fish||Sardines, clams, shrimp, salmon|
|Miscellaneous||Figs, sesame seeds, corn tortillas, almonds, brown sugar
Breakfast: Opt for a bowl of cereal with milk. This is the simplest breakfast
to have as it does not involve any prior preparations. Another
delicious and healthy breakfast choice is oatmeal. While preparing
oatmeal porridge, use milk to dissolve it in, instead of water. Make
yourself a breakfast smoothie by blending a cup of milk and some fresh
fruits. Whenever possible, add cheese to your breakfast diet. Even if
you tend to skip breakfast, at least drink a glass of calcium fortified
orange juice to meet your daily calcium requirements.
Lunch: Have a cup of curd along with your regular lunch. If you
are eating a sandwich, add some cheese to it. Substitute your lunchtime
soft drink with a glass of milk. If you are not fond of plain milk, opt
for a chocolate or strawberry flavoured milk drink instead. A fish sandwich contains fewer calories and provides much needed calcium.
Go for calcium containing snacks as well. Most commercially available energy bars are fortified with calcium. A cup of hot cocoa, containing milk, serves
as a source of calcium and chases away tiredness as well. Another snack
option is to dip bread sticks in a tasty yoghurt dip.
Dinner: Prepare your evening bowl of soup with milk
instead of water. This will also make your soup creamier and give it a
thicker consistency. Leguminous foods like beans, soya, and tofu are also good sources of calcium. Opt for a serving of green vegetables, at least every alternate day.
For dessert, try a milk-based pudding. Even ice cream is a good source
of calcium since it is made of milk.
is available in a variety of foods. Experiment with your diet to see
just how much calcium you can add to it. You will develop strong bones
that can withstand great stress.