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      Calcium - Why It Is Essential For Women

       

      Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. You must absorb calcium rich foods every day from your dietary intake because your body does not make calcium. You lose calcium through shed skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. When you do not have enough calcium, your body breaks down bone to obtain the mineral.

      Calcium

      The reason why calcium is essential for women is to protect our bones from diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Whether you are taking a vitamin C capsule daily, or include dairy products in your diet, calcium is a must for women, especially baby boomers.

      There are other calcium rich foods, such as: leafy green vegetables; beans; juices and cereals. If you are a baby boomer, your doctor has undoubtedly told you to increase your calcium intake by consuming at least 1200 mg. a day. These are readily available in capsule form at any health store or pharmacy. In addition, your doctor may also ask you to take a bone density test to determine if the bones in your body show any signs of brittleness or degeneration.

      It is estimated that over 80% of women have either arthritis or osteoporosis. To prevent this from occurring, taking calcium supplements on a daily basis; consume calcium rich foods; exercise, and maintaining a proper diet all help to keep your bones and your body in good health.

      There is more good news about calcium. Several studies have shown that calcium can decrease weight gain over time. While there is an on-going debate as to whether or not this is true, it is possible. The researchers have claimed that calcium may reduce calcium concentrations in fat cells by lowering the production of two hormones, parathyroid hormone and an active form of vitamin D, which in turn increases fat breakdown in these cells. 

      In addition, calcium from food or supplements may bind to small amounts of dietary fat in the digestive tract and prevent its absorption, carrying the fat out in the feces. It seems calcium may have a role in reducing weight, but more studies are needed to determine how calcium can affect weight loss to this degree.

      How Much Does A Woman Need?

      The amount of calcium that a woman should get per day ranges from 1000mg-1500mg, depending her age group, and hormonal state.

      * Ages 11-24 (adolescents and young adults): 1200-1500 mg
      * Ages 25-50: 1000 mg
      * Pregnant and nursing: 1200-1500 mg
      * Older than 50 (postmenopausal):
             -- on estrogens: 1000 mg
             -- not on estrogens: 1500 mg
      *  Older than 65: 1500 mg
       

      Common Calcium Rich Foods

      Dairy:
      Milk (1 cup): ~ 300 mg
      Yogurt (175 mL): ~300 mg
      Frozen Yogurt (1/2 cup): ~ 100 mg
      Ice Cream (1/2 cup): 85 mg

      Cheese:
      Swiss cheese 1 oz (slice) 250-270
      American cheese 1 oz (slice) 165-200

      Parmesan cheese 1 Tbs 70

      Soy:
      Calcium-fortified soy drink (1 cup): ~300 mg
      Tofu (1/2 cup): ~250 mg
      Canned Fish:
      Canned salmon with bones (3 oz): ~ 200 mg
      Canned sardines with bones (3 oz): ~ 250 mg
       

      Whether you take capsules or increase your dairy intake, the reason why calcium is essential for women is to ensure and maintain bone health.
       

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