Nutrition: Crank Up Your CalciumSqueezeItIn.com Girls
Resolving to treat your body better in 2011? Karolina Starczak, founder of FitCentrik.com, is back to share some of the surprising benefits of calcium, just how much you need, and where you can find it. (And while you’re at it, throw in a few arm curls with that gallon of milk!)
Calcium: More than Bones
By Karolina Starczak, RD, ACE-CPT
Unless you’re reading this while sporting a delicious milk moustache, chances are you are not getting the calcium your body needs. The truth is about 78% of women aged 20 years or older are not meeting the recommended 1,000 milligrams of daily calcium and according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis, by 2020, half of Americans over the age of 50 will be at risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass. Currently ten million people over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis in this country alone.
Shocking isn’t it? Especially since calcium is needed for much more than strong, healthy bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, hormones and enzyme secretion, and nervous system function. So how can you use the New Year to separate yourself from the crowd and up that calcium intake? It’s a lot easier than spelling osteoporosis.
1. Be Dairy-ing
Consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each and every day. Just three servings of items like yogurt, milk and cheese can help meet your calcium needs. Evidence also shows that consuming low-fat and fat-free dairy products can help lower blood pressure as well as achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
2. Get Leaf Relief
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and turnip greens are a great low calorie way to add calcium to your diet. In fact one cup of cooked spinach contains about the same amount of calcium as a six ounce cup of skim milk, but contains only 42 calories. When vegetables are metabolized they also make the body slightly more alkaline, reducing calcium loss.
3. Halt the Salt
If you want healthy bones then it’s time to make that salt shaker dash far away from your kitchen. The sodium in salt is well known for being the culprit in high blood pressure, but did you know it can also increase the amount of calcium the body excretes? Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day by choosing fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts and try adding flavor to food with various spices instead of salt.