The calcium information below is intended as reference only and not as medical or professional advice.
Calcium is essential for building strong bones and teeth. Almost 99 percent of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. The remaining one percent helps keep the heart, muscles, nerves and other body systems working properly. Calcium plays a very important role in blood clotting.
The best sources of calcium are green vegetables. Yes, you read correctly. They have the highest levels of calcium and are absorbed at a much higher rate than meat and dairy. Calcium rich foods include:
Anything in excess has the potential to be damaging. The following foods should be limited:
As we grow older our body functions slow down and nutrient absorption decreases calcium being no exception. For maximum assimilation, include plenty of green vegetables in your diet. In addition, make sure you are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamin D and magnesium for proper calcium absorption.
Without magnesium, calcium is not only poorly absorbed into the bones and blood, but can settle in soft tissues and can cause arthritis. An increase in magnesium rich foods can in many cases solve the problem of calcium deficiency. Magnesium rich foods include:
If you take supplements, the correct proportion is
vital for proper absorption. The suggested intake ratio is (cal:mag)
2:1, but this can change significantly with each individual depending on
diet, metabolism, lifestyle, etc. Check with a health care specialist
you trust for the best type and dosage for your individual
Vitamin D helps calcium get absorbed into the digestive system . Without it, bones become thin, brittle or misshapen.
About 20 minutes a day of exposure to the sun (without sunscreen) should provide women 50 plus their daily requirement for Vitamin D. But, today, with sunscreen and the fact that we spend less time outdoors, most of us women baby boomers are not getting enough sun. Foods rich in Vitamin D include:
When vitamin D is absorbed through the skin or from foods, it
is converted in the liver and kidney to a form that can be released
where it is needed in the body. As we age we run an increased risk of
developing vitamin D deficiency because skin cannot synthesize vitamin D
as efficiently and the liver and kidneys do not function as well
If you are over 50, have your blood tested for Vitamin D. The recommended dosage for vitamin D is 400IU for women between ages 51-70, but don't take any amount unless you are deficient. Our body does not excrete excess vitamin D; instead it is stored and can reach toxic levels if taken excessively.
Please note that the calcium information here is general. The body's ability to absorb vitamins and minerals differs among individuals and is influenced by such factors as age, diet, heredity, and general health.