Posted on: May 6, 2013
Calcium: The Key to Bone Health & Much More
By Amy Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN
You have heard it before; calcium is key to maintaining strong bones and teeth and warding off osteoporosis. But did you know that bone health is not calcium’s only job?
Calcium is important for athletes for strong and efficient muscles. Calcium also plays role in keeping our heart’s healthy through blood clotting, keeping a regular heartbeat, and reducing blood pressure. Calcium also works to release necessary hormones and enzymes.
Our bodies cannot produce calcium; therefore we must get it from the foods we eat. Vitamin D and vitamin K also play an important role with calcium absorption regulation, and bone formation.
As we age, our calcium requirements change. Young adulthood is a critical stage when bones build up to their peak strength, and calcium requirements are at their highest (1,300 mg per day for ages 9-18). The recommendation from our government for adults ages 19-50 is to get 1,000 mg of calcium per day, increasing to 1200 mg daily for people ages 50 and over.
Thinking in terms of food, focus on getting 3 sources of calcium-rich foods per day, such as low-fat yogurt or cheese.
Not down with dairy? You can still enjoy a calcium-rich life with: