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From our Parish Nurse Lynn Curvin – Calcium

February 5, 2007

lynnecurvin.jpgMost of us do not get enough calcium in our diets. According to the National Dairy Council, 75% of all Americans receive less than the recommended daily requirement. The main reason for this is that people of all ages do not drink milk. Taking in enough calcium and vitamin D helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and generally improves bone health.

The DASH study, “the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension,” has shown that eating a well-balanced diet, including 2-3 servings of low fat dairy foods per day, can help lower blood pressure. Calcium might possibly help prevent breast and colon cancer.

Calcium might play a part in weight reduction. Research recently has shown that having at least 2 servings of dairy foods, which provide the most calcium per serving of the calcium-rich foods, per day, may help with weight management. Calcium plays an important role in the way the body burns calories, and it helps the body to better use the insulin it produces, which is very important for people with diabetes.

Children under the age of 18 should get 1,3000 milligrams of calcium per day. Men and women ages 19-50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, while man and women ages 51 and older should get 1,200 milligrams per day.

To increase your calcium intake, try to eat at least 3 servings of calcium-rich dairy foods per day, including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. You could buy more foods that have been fortified with calcium such as cereal or orange juice. You cold also eat more dark, green leafy vegetables.

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