What is Calcium and How Does it Affect Bone Density?
Calcium is an essential mineral that is essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Our bodies need calcium to produce bones, the supporting framework of our bodies. Calcium is also necessary for muscle, heart and nerve functions, as well as blood clotting and blood pressure regulation. It is found in foods like dairy products, fish with edible bones, dark leafy greens, legumes and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice.
Having a sufficient amount of calcium in your diet is vital for bone health and bone density, especially as you age. As bone density decreases with age, it is important to ensure you are getting the recommended dietary intake of calcium to help protect your bones. Low calcium intake and an inactive lifestyle can lead to a decrease in bone density and an increase in bone loss and even fractures and osteoporosis, a bone-wasting condition.
Separating Fact from Fiction and Health: Calcium and Bone Density
Fact: Calcium is essential for healthy bones. It is the main mineral that helps maintain strong bones, and the Institute of Medicine recommends getting at least 1000 mg of calcium per day for adults ages 19-50 and 1200 mg per day for women over 51 and men over 70.
Fiction: Consuming more calcium than the recommended daily amount will lead to higher levels of bone density. Consuming too much calcium, especially in supplement form, can be dangerous and can lead to a higher risk of kidney stones and other health problems.
Fact: Exercise can increase bone density and reduce the effects of age-related bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises, like walking, running and using the stairmaster, help build strong bones. Strength training is also beneficial, as it can help the body retain muscle and balance, decreasing the risk of falls and fractures.
Fiction: Consuming dairy products is the only way to get enough calcium in your diet. While dairy products do contain significant amounts of calcium, they are not the only source. Many dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages can also provide the body with sufficient amounts of calcium needed to maintain healthy bones.
Calcium is an essential mineral for maintaining healthy bones and combating age-related bone loss. While dairy products are a common source of this mineral, other foods like legumes, dark green, leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods can help you get the recommended amount as well. Furthermore, staying active and getting regular exercise can help increase bone density over time. However, it is important to remember to not consume too much calcium and stick to the recommended daily intake in order to avoid potential health risks.