Bone loss occurs in both men and women when exercise and physical activity is reduced and not enough calcium and vitamin D is consumed. All ages should make sure they have enough calcium in their diet and enough physical activity throughout their whole lives to reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. Between the ages of 35 - 40, we generally lose 1 percent of our total bone mass per year. Women can lose up to 3 percent of their bone mass in their natural menopause years or after surgical removal of the ovaries. This is because the ovaries no longer produce estrogen, which is a bone-building hormone that helps retain bone mass. Smoking also reduces estrogen levels -- which is another reason to quit!
Calcium requirements range by age and and intake of 400 to 800 I.U. of Vitamin D daily is recommended. The following is the recommended daily calcium intakes for females.
Ages 10 to 16 - 1,200 mg. to 1,400 mg.
Ages 17 to 18 - 1,200 mg.
Ages 19 to 49 - 1,000 mg.
Ages 50 and up - 1,000 mg. to 1,500 mg.
The best sources of calcium are milk products, not only because of the amount of calcium they contain, but because Vitamin D is found in milk. It is difficult to meet calcium requirements unless you consume 2 to 3 servings of milk products a day. Here are the top dairy sources for calcium.
Milk (1 cup)300 mg.
Evaporated Skim Milk (1 cup)746 mg.
Cheese (1 ½ oz.)325 mg.
Yogurt (3/4 cup)300 mg.
Processed Cheese (2 thin slices)225 mg.
Cottage Cheese ( ½ cup)75 mg.
Calcium is also found in plant sources such as broccoli (80 mg.), kale (45 mg.), bok choy (80 mg.), green cabbage (26 mg.), brussels sprouts (30 mg.), cauliflower (17 mg.) and rutabaga (36 mg.). The milligrams of calcium in these foods is based on a serving of ½ cup cooked. The calcium found in spinach, beet greens, sweet potatoes and rhubarb is not beneficial because these vegetables contain a lot of oxalate which is a substance that binds with the calcium and makes it unavailable.
Other non-dairy sources of calcium include:
Tofu set with Calcium Sulphate ( ½ cup)110 mg.
Salmon with crushed bones ( ½ can)225 mg.
8 small Sardines165 mg.
7 large Scallops30 mg.
Almonds ( ¼ cup)95 mg.
Sesame Seeds ( ¼ cup)50 mg.
Sunflower Seeds ( ¼ cup)40 mg.
Baked Beans, Navy Beans ( ¾ cup)100 mg.
Pinto, Kidney Beans, Chick Peas (¾ cup)50 mg.
Here's an easy and tasty way to get your calcium. Why eat a candy with no nutritional benefits.
Nutrition Now Calcium Soft Chew, Chocolate, 75 count