We all need calcium. This important mineral can be found not only in our bones and teeth, but also in our blood, body tissues, muscles, and even the fluid that exists between the cells in our bodies. If you don’t get enough calcium, your body will start “stealing” calcium from your bones. That can lead to low bone density, which can put you in danger of forming osteoporosis. That’s why it’s so important to be sure that you’re getting an adequate amount of calcium in your diet. Adults aged 50 and under need about 1,000 mg per day, while adults over 50 need 1,200 mg a day.
Fortunately, calcium is found in a variety of foods and beverages. When planning your meals each day, remember to include a variety of these healthy food groups, all of which contain calcium.
- Dairy: There are lots of delicious sources for calcium in the dairy group, including milk, cheese and yogurt. But it’s important to remember that these foods can also be high in fat, so choosing nonfat or low-fat alternatives is better for most people.
- Vegetables: You might be surprised to learn how many vegetable products contain calcium. Dried beans and greens such as spinach, kale or collard greens are all good choices.
- Fish: A variety of fish also contain calcium, but the soft-boned varieties are best, such as salmon and sardines.
- Fortified foods: Check the labels of some of your favorite packaged foods to find out what amounts of calcium they include. Cereals, breads, pastas and orange juice all provide added calcium. You’ll also find impressive amounts in dairy-replacement products such as soy milk and almond milk.
- Supplements: It’s best to get the vast majority of calcium from your diet, if possible. But if you feel the need to take a calcium supplement, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Supplements aren’t for everyone, and your doctor can tell you whether or not they’re right for you based on your age and health history.
Although it’s quite rare to get too much calcium from diet alone, it is possible to get too much from a combination of diet and calcium supplements. Getting too much can lead to other health problems. For an adult aged 50 or under, 2,500 mg is the upper limit. And for people over 50, 2,000 mg is the maximum.
Getting the right amount of calcium is important. Just make sure that you choose healthy foods and drinks that provide a good amount of calcium, and ask your doctor before deciding whether or not to take a calcium supplement.
Call today to schedule your appointment with our Cedar Park dentist – (512) 782-0821