Calcium necessary for mature adults [UPDATED]Published 5:07am Monday, March 11, 2013 Updated 7:09am Monday, March 11, 2013
Everyone needs calcium. But as you age, you need more to offset calcium losses from bone and decreased calcium absorption.
When you are 51 or over, you need about four servings of milk or milk products each day. Though calcium can be found in a variety of foods including oranges, broccoli, dried beans, spinach, and canned salmon with bones, leading health experts recommend milk and milk products as the preferred sources of calcium.
Calcium is an essential mineral nutrient, although it is not exactly a popular ingredient in the diet typically consumed by adults. Calcium is not only needed to maximize your bone mass but is required for metabolic functions.
Your body uses calcium for many of its vital functions and if you don’t give it enough calcium for these other purposes, it robs it from the teeth and bones.
It has been found that the body first robs the jawbones, which may account for the prevalence of periodontal disease, particularly among older women.
Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. It is a debilitating bone disorder that weakens the condition of bones due to the lack of calcium.
Weak bones break easily, and the majority of fractures among older adults are the result of osteoporosis. The bones are too weak to withstand the stresses of normal living.
One out of two women and one out of eight men will develop osteoporosis.
A diet high in calcium can help slow bone loss. Preserving bone mass helps reduce your risk of developing this bone-thinning and debilitating disease.
The best source of calcium is dairy products. One cup of skim milk supplies over 300 milligrams of calcium.
Other good sources are yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and leafy green vegetables. Women trying to consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium may find it difficult to get all of it from foods and must then turn to supplements.
A wide variety of calcium-fortified foods are also available including juices, fruit drinks, cereals, and carbonated beverages.
In many cases, these foods are fortified with a level of calcium comparable to that in an eight-ounce serving of milk.
Calcium doesn’t work alone. In the body, it buddies up with vitamin D, which helps your body absorb enough calcium to maintain health and strong bones.
You can get the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D from a quart of milk, an average multivitamin pill, or 30 to 60 minutes of sunshine.
Brief exposure to sunlight each day, which causes the body to manufacture vitamin D, and eating a balanced diet are usually enough to ensure an adequate intake. There’s something to be said for staying young at heart.
What you eat has plenty to do with it. When you choose foods loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, you’re on the right track.
This article is made possible with Older Americans Act dollars from the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. The Area Agencies provide a free information and assistance service called the Senior LinkAge Line that assists older adults and their caregivers with a variety of options for living independently. Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 800-333-2433 to speak with an information specialist, or check out our website at MinnesotaHelp.info.