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Calcium does a body good

Are you missing out on calcium?

Nine out of 10 women fail to get the calcium they need. Men aren't doing much better. Almost two-thirds of adult men don't meet their calcium requirements. In fact, calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet.

June is National Dairy Month. No bones about it, less bone without it. You need calcium to keep your bones in shape. Your bones need to last a lifetime. It takes a lifelong commitment to keep them strong.

Without a steady supply of calcium in your diet, your body will steal it from the only source it has, your bones. Over time, frequent calcium withdrawals can make bones weak and fragile. This can lead to the crippling disease called osteoporosis, which is a major public health threat for 28 million Americans - including both women and men.

Research shows that most Americans don't get the calcium needed to build and maintain bone density.

The National Academy of Sciences increased the recommended amount of calcium to 1,300 milligrams a day for teens; 1,000 milligrams for adults; and 1,200 for adults over age 50. You can help meet this requirement by getting three servings per day from the dairy food group.

Milk in the morning is a great start, but it's not enough. You need at least three eight-ounce glasses of milk a day to get the calcium you need.

One of the easiest ways to boost daily calcium is to have a glass of milk at every meal. Stir in a spoonful of chocolate syrup or heat a mug of milk in the microwave with a splash of vanilla extract for a change of pace. A cup of fat free milk is 80 calories and you'll get 300 milligrams of calcium and plenty of other nutrients in return.

Now that you are an adult don't think that milk is not important. While your bones may be as long as they will ever be, you can continue to add bone tissue to make them denser and stronger. But it takes a calcium-rich diet to do that. Calcium remains an essential mineral throughout your life - and milk is a childhood favorite that's still an important drink as an adult.

About 75 percent of the calcium in the food supply comes from milk and milk products. Other foods contain calcium, but in smaller amounts. To get the same amount of calcium found in three glasses of milk, you would have to eat seven cups of raw broccoli, three ounces of sardines and six cups of red beans.

Milk also contains vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the calcium and deposit the mineral into your bones. No bones about it, we do have less bone without calcium.

Web posted on Thursday, June 2, 2005


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Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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