DIET AND FITNESS:

Calcium Rich Foods
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November 21, 2011, last updated April 17, 2013

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist









Got milk? Or cheese, or yoghurt, or cream? Eating a lot of
dairy is the best-known way to boost your calcium levels.
Calcium is an essential mineral for building bones and
helping blood clot, muscles contract and nerves send
messages among other functions. But are we getting
enough? According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, girls aged nine to 18 and women between the
ages of 51 and 70 in the United States are dangerously low
in calcium. Our bodies cannot produce calcium and every day
we lose calcium through our skin, hair, nails and urine. We
clearly need to consume more calcium but is dairy the only
way to do it? Which other foods are rich in calcium to help
prevent calcium deficiency?

Calcium deficiency is defined as not getting enough calcium,
as measured by health professionals’ levels. The National
Institutes of Health and the National Osteoporosis
Foundation recommend women and men under the age of
50 get 1,000 mg of calcium a day. Women over the age of 50
and men over the age of 71 should consume 1,200 mg of
calcium a day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
the average person in the United States is not meeting these
intake levels. The report presents dietary intake estimates for
selected minerals from the National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey, 1999–2000, for the U.S. population.
The mean dietary intake of calcium for both sexes was 863
mg per day. For women, the mean dietary intake of calcium
was 765 mg a day - clearly below the suggested intake.

Unusual Causes of Calcium Deficiency

Sure, not getting enough milk can cause calcium deficiency.
But are there medical conditions that can also cause calcium
deficiency?  In other words, is calcium deficiency a warning
sign of a more serious medical condition? Not getting
enough dairy is just one cause of calcium deficiency. In fact,
there are two types of calcium deficiency with two different
kinds of causes.

Dietary calcium deficiency is caused by an inadequate intake
of calcium – not getting enough milk or any of the calcium
rich foods listed below. If you are deficient in Vitamin D you
can also be affected by calcium deficiency as Vitamin D helps
promote calcium absorption and use.

But, there is one unusual cause of calcium deficiency you
may not have heard of. The condition is called
"hypocalcaemia".  Hypocalcaemia is a low level of calcium in
the blood.  And here is a very important point:
Hypocalcaemia is not affected by how much milk you drink.

Instead, hypocalcaemia is caused by certain medications,
such as diuretics, medical treatments, and diseases like renal
failure, cancer, and hypoparathyroidism (having low levels of
the parathyroid hormone, which maintains calcium and
phosphorus levels). (Learn more symptoms of
thyroid
problems and natural remedies.)

Be careful if you have a dairy allergy, you are on a high
protein diet or a vegan diet, or you exercise strenuously as
you are more at risk of a calcium deficiency.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency


























Calcium deficiency is difficult to spot. There are usually no
symptoms until your bones thin so much you develop
osteoporosis. However, you may experience bone pain or
tenderness in the bones,
back pain or neck pain, a stooped
posture or loss of height.

If your calcium deficiency is due to hypocalcaemia, you will
have different symptoms. These symptoms include muscle
cramps and numbness, a burning or prickling sensation on
the skin, poor appetite and bruised areas on your body.
However, you may have no symptoms at all.

Consequences of Calcium Deficiency

Because calcium is so important for vital bodily functions our
bodies are excellent at pulling calcium from wherever we can
find it – and if there is not enough calcium in the blood, this
is usually from the bones. When calcium is pulled from the
bones we suffer thinning and weakening of the bone mass
as the calcium stores in the bones are not replaced. The most
prevalent, and dangerous, consequence of calcium deficiency
over the long term is
osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by painful bone
fractures and bone weakness. According to the National
Institutes of Health, almost 34 million Americans have
osteopenia (the prelude to osteoporosis) and more than 10
million people in the United States suffer from osteoporosis.

Women are much more likely than men to suffer from
osteoporosis due to a lower peak bone mass density than
men and because the bone mass declines speedily at
menopause due to hormonal changes. In fact, up to 80% of
osteoporosis sufferers are women.

[Update:

Among pregnant women, a study in 2000 from the World
Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and
Research Training in Human Reproduction( World Health
Organization) discovered that supplementing the diet of
pregnant women with calcium significantly decreased their
risk for
preeclampsia and high blood pressure.]



Cut your chances of developing osteoporosis and painful
bone fractures in later life or for developing high blood
pressure during pregnancy by increasing your calcium intake
now. The following foods are all rich in calcium, and if you
incorporate them into your diet, you can give your bones
and your health a vital boost.











































































































Simple Tips to Add More Calcium to Your Diet

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has a simple way to
add more calcium to your diet. Use a tablespoon of non-fat
powdered milk in your recipes for puddings, cookies, soups,
casseroles, gravies and bread – one tablespoon of non-fat
powdered milk contains around 50 mg of calcium. Remember
that you need 1200 mg a day of you're a woman.

You can also sneak in more calcium by adding a tablespoon
of powdered milk to scrambled eggs and omelets.

If you don’t eat dairy, the best way to get your calcium is
from green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, turnip greens,
watercress and broccoli, fish like salmon, mackerel, pilchards
and sardines, and tofu and other calcium-enhanced foods.
Calcium is also present in nuts, pulses and dried fruits.







Related Links:
Osteoporosis-Top 10 Natural Remedies /
Osteopenia -Top 10 Natural Remedies / Lithium Rich Foods /
Cow's Milk -Health Dangers /

Bladder Infections-Causes and Cures/
Urine Color Chart -What It Means / / How Much Is Too
Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas
Bad for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal
Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods That
Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-
The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

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What Do You Think?

What Do You Think?
Chocolate milk isn't just for kids. It's
a great way to increase your calcium
intake. Just choose low-fat varieties.
Food
Calcium per
serving (mg)
Percentage of
Recommended Amount
Calories per
serving
Raisin bran cereal
(calcium fortified ) 1 cup
1000 - 1038
100
166
Condensed milk (canned,
sweetened) 1 cup
869
87
982
Ricotta cheese (part
skim) 1 cup
669
67
339
Milk shake (thick,
vanilla) 11 fluid ounces
457
46
352
Yogurt (Plain, low fat) 8
ounces
415
42
143
Orange juice
(calcium-fortified) 6
ounces
378
38
117
Milk shake (fast food,
chocolate) 16 fluid
ounces
376
38
480
Enchilada (fast food,
with cheese) 160 g
324
32
319
Yogurt,( fruit, low-fat) 8
ounces
313-384
31-38
232-250
Mozzarella (part skim)
1.5 ounces
333
33
108
Cheddar Cheese, 1.5
ounces
306
31
171
Milk, non-fat, 8 ounces
296
30
76
Milk, reduced- fat, 8
ounces
296
30
112
Milk, whole, 8 ounces
272
27
137
Cheese spread
(pasteurized, American)
1 ounce
159
16
82
Cottage cheese (1% milk
fat) 1 cup unpacked
138
14
163
Okra (frozen, boiled,
drained, without salt) 1
cup
136
14
53
Sardines (canned in oil,
with bones) 3 ounces
324
32
177
Salmon (pink, canned,
solid with bones) 3
ounces
181
18
117
Soybeans (boiled,
drained without salt) 1
cup
261
26
254
Tofu (firm, made with
calcium sulfate) 1/2 cup
253
25
88
Turnip greens (boiled)
1/2 cup
99
10
15
Kale (cooked) 1 cup
94
9
36
Spinach (frozen, boiled,
without salt) 1 cup
291
29
64
Malted drink mix
(chocolate, with added
nutrients, powder
prepared with whole
milk)
368
37
231