We all know that calcium builds strong bones and teeth and can prevent osteoporosis. But it does much more than that: It helps the blood to clot; aids the heart in functioning properly; lowers our risk of cancer; transmits nerve messages; and even helps some people lose weight. That's pretty important stuff. So how can we be sure that our family is getting enough calcium each day?
The recommended daily amounts of calcium (in milligrams) are as follows:
- 1 to 3 years old: 500 mg/day (or about 1 servings of food high in calcium)
- 4 to 8 years old: 800 mg/day (about 1.5 servings)
- 9 to 18 years: 1,300 mg/day (about 4 servings)
- 19 to 50 years: 1,000 to 1200 mg/day (about 3-4 servings)
- 51 and over: 1,200 to 1500 mg/day (about 4 servings)
Calcium is, of course, found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Other foods rich in calcium include beans, oats, calcium-fortified orange juice, leafy greens (broccoli, spinach, kale, collards), as well as some soy milks and tofu.
Also note that Vitamin D should be a part of any healthy diet and lifestyle because it helps to absorb calcium. You can get Vitamin D from supplements and dairy products plus 10 minutes of sunlight per day. Recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 1,000IUs.
Is your family getting enough calcium each day?