How much calcium do you get in your daily diet?
If you’re like most Americans, experts say you probably don’t get enough. You could be at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
By the time Parvin Pedram realized this, it was too late. “You think it can happen to somebody else, but not to me,” she says. “So I heard it all my life, but I never really took it that serious.”
At just 43, Parvin has osteoporosis. This disease of brittle bones affects 28 million Americans. Experts say it’s on the rise because women don’t get enough calcium.
Jane Chihal, M.D., is an obstetrician/gynecologist in Dallas, Tex. “We’re talking about preventing a disease that can be fatal but also can take away your independence as you get older.”
It’s estimated that the average adult gets only 600 milligrams of calcium a day from their regular diet. The recommended amount? One thousand to 1,300.
“You don’t get your optimum bone strength until you’re 35. Then after that you have to protect it so that you don’t lose it as you get older,” says Dr. Chihal.
So how do you get from 600 milligrams a day to more than a thousand? Try adding three of these to your daily diet:
A cup of fat free or whole milk — 300 milligrams
An ounce of cheese — 200
A cup of low fat yogurt — 345
Other foods high in calcium: broccoli, spinach, beans and fortified orange juice. Calcium from food is better, but if you’re shy of the recommended amount, add a supplement such as calcium citrate.
Parvin Pedram, “Just being women, we know we’re going to have a bone problem. So we need to start from day one to attack this.” Through exercise, medication and calcium every day, she hopes to beat osteoporosis.
It’s also important to get vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium better. Dietary sources of vitamin D include green vegetables, fortified milk, cheese, tomatoes and cauliflower. Doctors warn you can get too much calcium. If you take more than 2,000 milligrams you can develop kidney stones.
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