Calcium is a mineral that is necessary to build healthy bones. It also helps our heart to beat, our muscles to contract and our blood to clot. The amount our bodies need changes as we age. Though there is much controversy over just how much calcium we need, everyone agrees that it is necessary as part of healthy aging. Most of us do not get enough calcium. As you age bone loss accelerates and it becomes more difficult for you to maintain the proper amount in your body.Your body doesn’t produce it on its own. It needs vitamin D to help absorb it.
What are some of the best sources of calcium?
- Seeds. This may surprise you but seeds contain more than 10% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. Try poppy, sesame or chia seeds for something different in your diet.
- Cheese and yogurt. Parmesan cheese has the most calcium, approximately 33% of your daily recommended intake. Many types of cheese, such as cottage cheese, also contain lots of protein. For those who have problems with lactose, aged cheeses are easier to digest. Yogurt, especially the low fat varieties, contain lots of calcium while also providing probiotics which are essential to your digestion.
- Beans and lentils. Beans are high in fiber and vitamins. White beans are a good source of calcium and all beans help to lower your cholesterol and your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Many of us take supplements as we get older to help keep our bones strong. Supplements have now been found to possibly increase the risk of kidney stones. In some, it can also lead to increased cardiovascular disease. For those with kidney disease, increasing the amount of calcium through your diet is the best choice. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting on any supplements. Overall, a balanced diet with everything in moderation is what contributes to healthy aging. For those who for various reasons can’t get enough vitamins through their daily food intake, vitamins may be an option.