Calcium: How much is enough?

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Any balanced diet isn’t complete without calcium, the main nutritional mineral needed for building strong bones and, this one is important, teeth!

In general, experts believe that North Americans, particularly adults, do not consume enough calcium each day. But how much calcium do you need for a lifetime of healthy teeth and bones?
The most effective amount for adults is from 800-1,200 mg (500-700 mg for children), of calcium a day combined with a good exercise program. Remember vitamin D3 for helping your body absorb calcium. Keep in mind that the daily value depends on your individual health status as well as your diet.

If the level of calcium does not remain constant and adequate, your body can pull calcium from your bones which, over time, will lead to osteoporosis which can result in broken bones. Inadequate calcium intake has also been linked to health issues such as hypertension and toxemia in pregnancy, which is characterized by high blood pressure.

Many things we eat and drink have calcium in them, with dairy products usually being your best source. Coffee cream, artificial creamer, and whipped topping as well as cream cheese, sour cream, and whipping cream, contain little or no calcium, but you can replace sour cream or cream cheese with fat-free yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, then fortified alternatives made from almonds, soy, or rice are an option, as well as fresh vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and collard greens, and canned seafood like sardines and salmon. Nuts like almonds are also high in calcium.

Regardless of your age, calcium provides many benefits for your oral and overall health. If you’re not sure you’re getting enough dietary calcium, please ask your physician or dental team for ways to achieve the calcium intake that’s right for you.

© Patient News