Everyone knows that calcium is important, but sneaking it into your diet can be tricky at times. I recently decided to do a little research on calcium and I learned a lot about its sources as well as some nifty little facts!
Did you know that you actually get more calcium from low-fat dairy? Calcium is not stored in the fat part of milk, so as the fat content lowers, the calcium level rises. Therefore, the best dairy products for delivering your much-needed calcium are going to be low-fat choices. Also, your body can’t absorb too much calcium at once. 500 mg seems to be the cap, so if you take a calcium supplement, it’s best to divide it up throughout the day. Your body will handle the small portions better and be able to take in more calcium. If you do chose to take a supplement, read the label carefully. Most contain other ingredients like carbonate. Be sure to check the exact amount of calcium to be sure you’re giving yourself enough.
In order to actually be able to absorb your calcium, you have to have vitamin D. You need vitamin D because it regulates the calcium going into the small intestine, which maintains the blood levels needed for bone building. There are different ways to get your vitamin D and they’re all pretty simple. You could get thirty minutes of un-protected sun exposure a week, take supplements, or eat foods like fortified milk and sockeye salmon. It isn’t difficult but it is important.
Some people don’t like milk, but there are other foods that are packed with calcium too. I’m sure you’ve seen labels that say they are fortified with calcium. Those are fine substitutes, but you can also eat foods like dark, leafy greens, canned salmon, and dry roasted almonds. It is important for you to check the labels and see how much calcium is actually in each product. The average eight ounce cup of low-fat yogurt has about 400 mg, so you’ll want to try to hit somewhere in that range. You should ideally take 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
Watching what you put in your body can feel like a lot of work, but it is worth it in the long run. Problems that develop from a lack of calcium can result in osteoporosis, unhealthy bone and teeth development, bleeding, nerve damage, and more. Take simple steps to nurture your body now and you will be thanking me later!