When you were younger, did your mom urge you to drink your milk for strong bones? She wasn’t wrong in doing so. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, with an 8-ounce serving containing about 300 milligrams.
Calcium is a key nutrient to many of your body’s functions. It supports your bone mass, heart, blood, muscles, and nerves. Calcium is absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy spine.
Sadly, it’s estimated that 70% of people aren’t getting enough calcium in their diet. When your body doesn’t get enough calcium, it steals the calcium from your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
If you consistently don’t get enough calcium over a period of years, you’re much more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that affects more than 44 million people in the US over the age of 50. Osteoporosis is characterized by loss of bone mass or bone mass that has become increasingly brittle.
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There are two main components to maintaining strong bones and a healthy spine: reach the recommended intake of calcium every day and consume foods that help with the absorption of calcium.
Not sure how much calcium you should be consuming? See below, the recommended daily intake of calcium varies by age.
- Adults 25-50 years old: 1,000 milligrams per day with 400 i.u. of Vitamin D
- Adults 50+ years old: 1,500 milligrams per day with 400-800 i.u. of Vitamin D
It is important to note that consuming more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium per day can be harmful to your kidneys and can cause kidney stones to form.
Getting Calcium Through Your Diet
It is entirely possible to consume the recommended amount of calcium per day without the need for supplements. Dairy products, especially milk, are rich in calcium, as well as dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas.
Vitamin D helps your body with the absorption of calcium and, unfortunately, is only naturally found in a couple of foods, including egg yolks and certain fatty fish. However, many foods like milk and cereal have been fortified with the vitamin to make reaching your daily intake easier.
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While it may be easy to waive off concern about your calcium intake for later in life, for your bones’ sake it’s important to consistently get enough calcium from an early age.
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