Good Food Good Health - Calcium

Hi Everyone
A good food for good health is calcium and is great for bones and staying slim after 50. As you all probably know I am closer to fifty now than forty, even though I still feel as I did in my twenty's, (some friends may add I still act like it sometimes).
Recently it has dawned on me that if I still want to feel this good for the next twenty years that I really should take steps now, so that I can maintain the good health that I am enjoying at the moment.
I have been looking in general at women's health of my age and how to keep up good health through the next twenty years.
Middle-aged women, like myself I guess, have been told for years that they should take calcium and vitamin D tablets to protect their bones against osteoporosis that is why recently I have increased my intake of calcium.
I always eat a good balanced diet and as you know my theory is 'good food good health', so when I checked on the amount of dairy products Ted and I consume to calculate our daily intake, I was a little surprised that it was myself not Ted that was not always getting the required amount.
Our two daughters easily reach their required amount from their normal diet, as one of the cereals they eat is fortified with vitamins and they also drink a couple of milk shakes a day.
Osteoporosis is a disease due to loss of bone density with a break down of bone structure. Diseased bones become brittle, porous and thin, resulting in bones becoming easier to break especially those in the legs, hips and arms.
Women are far more prone to osteoporosis, in fact 80 per cent of all sufferers are women. So making sure we maintain a healthy balanced diet rich in dairy products is essential, and to check that our levels of calcium and vitamin D intake is correct.
Although 99 per cent of calcium in the body is found in the teeth and bones, the other 1 per cent plays a major role in our health and is found in muscles, blood, soft tissue, organs and nerves.
Meeting your calcium need is quite easy if you like milk and dairy products. Generally 8 ounces of milk provides about 300mg of calcium and general daily requirements are: -
Children 1 - 8 years 500 - 800mg
9 - 18 years 1300 mg
19 - 50 years 1000mg
Women 51+ with HRT and men 51+ 1200mg
Women 51+ without HRT 1500mg
Breastfeeding and pregnant women 1200mg
The best sources of calcium and vitamin D are Milk, cheese and yoghurt, and also foods made with milk, such as custard, rice pudding, ice cream etc.
Fish and shellfish are an excellent source of Vitamin D - salmon, tuna, herring, halibut, shrimps and oysters as well as eggs, milk and cod liver oil.
Low fat foods also contain good amounts of calcium including low fat yoghurt, skimmed and low fat fluid milk and buttermilk. Cheese contains varying amounts of calcium and in general, the more firm the cheese the more calcium in contains. Soft cheese has a low amount present and cream cheese is not a good source at all.

Keeping good bone health is essential for all of us at any age, and therefore our intake of calcium is beneficial. Calcium moves in and out of the bones throughout our lives.
The need for good supplies of calcium throughout childhood and teen years is crucial, as bones grow in size and density through this period.
Calcium combines with phosphorous to form teeth and bones, making them hard and resistant to decay and breaks, it also: -
Is vital in blood to help it clot normally.
Helps muscles to contract normally. A deficiency can cause spasms and cramp.
Is essential in the nervous system for messages to be passed from the brain to other parts if the body and back again.
Helps to regulate blood pressure. A deficiency or low intake of calcium has been associated with high blood pressure.
Calcium may help with the prevention of colon cancer. This is thought to work in tow ways, one if that it binds with fat and bile acids in the large intestine to keep them from causing harm, the other that it prevents the excessive growth of cells in the intestines that could otherwise lead to cancer.
Also new research has found that another incentive for taking calcium is that
It can help you stay slim, and this interested me greatly. The study found that women who were over 50 and took regular calcium and Vitamin D supplements are less likely to gain weight than those who do not, and what was surprising the women who had previously been deficient in Vitamin D and calcium had the greatest benefits.
The slimming effect is thought to be down to the fact that there is an improved breakdown of fat cells and also an increase in the production of leptin, a chemical that curbs your appetite.
Also experts said that stimulation of the metabolism is likely to be increased with a better balance of nutrients in our diet, and so I cannot stress to much the importance of the 'good food good health' benefits, and equally if you can get the required amount of calcium from a balanced diet can only be a plus, helping your body fight many diseases and the ever ageing process.
I have mentioned vitamin D several times and this is very important as calcium is not readily absorbed and used without this fat-soluble vitamin.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the 'sunshine vitamin', as the action of the suns ultra violet rays forms vitamin D in the skin.
Specialists say that we need 15 minutes of sunlight to produce enough vitamin D in fair skinned people which should last for a couple of days, darker skinned people however need up to 3 hours.
The use of sunscreen 8 SPF of higher will form a barrier and prevent the formulation of vitamin D, so just wait 15 minutes before applying, but so not do this through the hottest hours. Clouds and window glass also prevent penetration of ultra violet rays.
So for good bone health - which means having the most dense and strong bones possible at reaching adulthood, a regular good intake of calcium is needed and continuously required after this age to help eliminate the chance of osteoporosis in latter years.
If to little calcium has been stored before the age of thirty in the bones or calcium is drawn out to fast in later life, then osteoporosis is at a greater risk.
All our bodies after the age of forty lose calcium quicker in the bones than going back in, and because of this we all need to be made aware just how important calcium in the diet is.
Many people have been put off from consuming dairy products over the past twenty or so years, and because of this health specialists are concerned about the future female population and the risk of osteoporosis. Also the specialists are watching the worrying trend of teenagers and fad diets that will cause complications to well being in future generations.
So for all of us the message is do not skimp on your dairy product intake, skimmed milk is just as rich in calcium, check you are consuming the correct amount in your diet. If you cannot get the required amounts in your daily diet then think about supplements. Always check with your doctor or medical practice before taking supplements as a sensible precaution, as it is with any medication.
Remember good food is good health
Ted and Sandra
This article was composed by Sandra & Ted Wosko.