How Much Calcium Helps Our Bones?

Once a woman turns 30, her bones start losing calcium rather than storing it.  To avoid becoming one of the 9 million women suffering from osteoporosis, proper levels of calcium and vitamin D intake are essential.  New research found that daily intakes of less than 700 mg of calcium per day were associated with increased risk of fractures as well as a decreased risk of developing osteoporosis.  The current recommendation for calcium intake of 1000 mg per day, through food and/or supplements may go a long way in helping prevent osteoporosis.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to meet that 1000 mg goal.  One eight oounce glass of milk (cow’s or soy) has around 300 mg of calcium, as does six ounces of yogurt or two ounces of a low fat cheese.  Dark green vegetables also have loads of calcium; however, they also contain oxalic acid which prevents efficient absorption into our bones.  While this doesn’t mean that we don’t get any of the calcium from their leafy depths, it does mean that we need to eat more to get more of the calcium. So two cups of broccoli, one and a half cups of kale, or one cup of bok choy will give you just as much calcium as a glass of milk.  If taking supplements, only take 500mg at a time, as that is the maximum amount of calcium bones can absorb at once.

In addition to calcium, there are other nutrients necessary for bone health, including magnesium and vitamin K.  Other important factors include: getting plenty of exercise, and eliminating soda (yes, even diet) to keep your bones healthy and strong. As always, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your daily diet and habits to assure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

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