Did you know that we only build bone during the first 30 years of our life? In fact, most of us stop building it around the age of 25. After this our bone density stabilizes until we turn 40 or so where it begins to decline which weakens the bone and increases the risk of osteoporosis, falls, broken bones etc. Therefore calcium is needed in the early stages of life to build up bone density so that we are prepared for it to decline in our forties allowing us to minimize the loss.
Are you getting enough Calcium every day?
The daily requirements differ according to gender, age and lifestyle factors but as a general guide the following amounts should be sufficient:
0-10 years 350-550mg/day
11-18 years 800-1000mg/day
> 20 years 700mg/day
There will be many occasions where someone might need more calcium than what is stated above such as when someone is coeliac, breastfeeding or following a vegan diet. Food is the best source of all nutrients however supplementation may be necessary for: the elderly and the housebound, people on a restricted diet, people with a raised calcium requirement or when little exposure to the sunlight is indicated. Vitamin D is necessary for effective calcium absorption from the gut.
Where do you get your calcium?
Everybody needs different amounts of calcium so it is important that you know how much you need and where you can get it from, below are some ideas to start you off.
Calcium rich foods: Milk, yoghurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, fortified cereals, pudding, custard, sardines with bones, power bars/sports bars.
Other foods containing calcium: Broccoli, kale, figs, cream soup, cottage cheese, salmon, mackerel
All the foods mentioned above contain different amounts of calcium so it can be difficult to know if you are getting enough from your chosen sources. Please contact a qualified dietitian to ensure you are meeting your daily requirement for calcium and find out how to increase its absorption. To consult our dietitian please click here.