Most of us, when we were younger, were told to drink our milk so we would have strong bones and grow up tall. While it’s true that calcium is crucial in the diets of adolescent women and plays a big role in developing strong bones and teeth, its role in our health doesn’t stop there.
Calcium is currently being called the “miracle” mineral because of its proven ability to help control and prevent a number of conditions that can affect us when we’re older. Not only does it help prevent bone loss in women who suffer from osteoporosis, but it can protect against potential strokes, depression due to premenstrual symptoms, and certain types of cancer. Calcium can also help control and lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Calcium is essential in a healthy pregnancy because of its ability to promote bone growth in the fetus and improve bone mass in the mother. During the last two trimesters of pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding, your body will absorb more calcium from the food you eat, which might make it necessary to include a calcium supplement to your diet.
For dieting women, it’s crucial to get the required daily allowance of calcium. Recent studies have shown that calcium also plays a vital role in weight loss. Tests were conducted on women in mid-life age and the results showed that women who had high calcium intakes, didn’t gain weight and women with low calcium intakes did.
So, if we’re convinced that consuming more calcium in our diet has all of the above health benefits, why aren’t more women making a conscious effort to have more calcium in their diets or at the very least taking a calcium supplement? When you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, your body will take what it needs from your bones. This loss of essential minerals can often lead to weakened bones and eventually osteoporosis.
Getting calcium into your body is as easy as selecting the right foods to eat. Obviously dairy such as milk and cottage cheese are good choices, as long as the low-fat options are consumed. Also canned fish such as salmon or sardines can provide ample calcium as well as most dark green leafy vegetable such as collards, broccoli, kale, or bok choy.
If you still think getting the appropriate amount of calcium, for women 19 to 50 it’s 1,000 mg a day, through diet alone will be a challenge, then a calcium supplement should be considered. Whatever you choose to do, it’s essential that you begin taking calcium seriously and making it a lifetime commitment that can help you enjoy a long and healthy lifestyle.
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