Bone Up On Calcium

Calcium rich food

Calcium rich food

Remember that after age 30 on, cells that build bone become less active while those that dismantle bone keep working.

By: Bindu Grandhi and Brigid Beitel

I’ve noticed that TV talk shows and women’s magazines have been toting this perspective of aging for a while now. While we can’t turn back the hands of time, the fields of medicine, food science and nutrition bestow upon us knowledge to minimize and sometimes delay the effects of aging. So that you may not quite look 30 on the outside, but inside you’ll come pretty close.  Truth is genetics play a role in the aging process, but it can largely be influenced by diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. All you have to do is change how you feed and care for your body.

Regardless of age, healthy eating starts with a well-rounded diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein (e.g., poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts). However, women over 50 have special needs of their own and should do these 5 things:

  1. Bone up on Calcium

Low-fat or nonfat yogurt is a great source of calcium at about 400 milligrams per cup. Because bone-strengthening calcium becomes increasingly important in your 50s, shoot for 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Remember that after age 30 on, cells that build bone become less active while those that dismantle bone keep working. And then that loss is accelerated during menopause due to decreasing estrogen. It is always better and safer to get calcium from natural sources rather than supplements and prescription medications. For example, recently osteoporosis drug Fosamax (a prescription medication recommended for calcium absorption) was implicated in causing osteonecrosis of the jaw, which means that the bone is no longer alive and cannot regenerate because of a lack of blood supply.

Here are other natural ways to get calcium:

  • Milk (1 cup skim, 306 mg)
  • Cheese (1.5 ounces, about 300 mg)
  • Kale (1 cup cooked, 179 mg)
  • Spinach (1/2 cup frozen then cooked, 99 mg)
  • Tofu (tofu prepared with calcium salts; check the label)
    *Also, remember that calcium and iron compete with one another for absorption so it’s best not to eat them together at the same meal. That said, your iron needs actually decrease in your 50s (from 18 to 8 milligrams/day) because of menopause.

Keep in mind that as you get older, you may not be able to eat all the foods you used to eat. For example, some women become lactose intolerant. They experience symptoms like stomach pain, gas, or diarrhea after eating or drinking something with milk in it, like ice cream. Just eat smaller amounts of such foods or try yogurt, buttermilk, or hard cheese. Nowadays, lactose-free foods are also widely available. Check with your doctor to see if you are lactose intolerant.

Also read:  1. Dodging Alzheimer’s – What You Can Do Today 2. Bulk Up With Fiber 3. Spice Up Your Palette 4. Count Up Your Calories and Pump Up With Exercise 5. Rice With Cannelli Beans

About the Author:

Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavorful flexitarian cooking. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.

About the Research Contributor:

Brigid Beitel is a student at the University of Richmond, interested in pursuing a major in marketing with an interest in the culinary industry. Among her many talents, she is a reporter for The Collegian, University of Richmond’s Independent Student newspaper, where she writes “telling” restaurant reviews. She is smart, motivated and volunteered to do research for this article. I am most grateful for her contributions and I wish her much success in her collegiate and career endeavors.

Note: Please do check with your doctor or a registered dietitian about the above recommendations especially if you have health problems like heart disease or diabetes, or to discuss any effects in conjunction with your medicines.