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Calcium - How can we eat more

Calcium, it is what we traditionally know will help keep our bones strong and healthy. Consumption of Calcium will help us to avoid conditions such as Osteoporosis where our bone strength is compromised and our bones begin to weaken and become easy to fracture.

Calcium - The Basics

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and it is important to consume adequate calcium early in life to help minimise bone loss as we age. The calcium in our diets helps to maintain bone strength, helps with blood clotting, helps our nerves send messages and with also assists muscle contraction. If we don't get enough calcium in our diets, the body will obtain calcium from our bones which is why it is so important to eat enough dairy for the prevention of bone loss.

Calcium in our diets

Good sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, but unusually calcium is also found in sardines (with the bones), bok choy and almonds. For those who are lactose intolerant good sources include tofu and soy products, corn tortillas, some seeds (e.g.: sesame seeds) and even some breads can be a source of calcium.

In Vegetables the best sources are mustard greens, boo chop, parsley, kale, broccoli and even some seaweeds. Some green leafy vegetables, like spinach and swiss chard, contain a good amount of calcium, but also contain binders which prevent the calcium being absorbed by the body

Calcium deficiency

If you do not eat enough calcium, it can result in osteoporosis, the silent epidemic amongst older people, particularly older women. The best way to test for osteoporosis is through a bone mineral density scan as a blood test is not an accurate measure because when blood calcium levels become low, the body breaks down its own "bank" of calcium to ensure that adequate calcium is in the blood for body requirements.

In summary, don't underestimate the importance of calcium in the diet at any age or whether you are male or female.

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