The Role of Calcium in Bone Health
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a critical nutrient which makes up approximately 1kg of the average adult's body weight. Over 99 per cent of calcium in the body is stored in the bones and teeth with the remaining one per cent stored in the blood and cellular fluids..
The human skeleton contains 99.5% of the total amount of this mineral in the body, including the teeth. The rest is stored in blood and cellular fluitds. The 99.5% within bones is available to the body should the body need it for other purposes, but it is also necessary to maintain skeletal health.
The body stocks this mineral till the age of 25 to 30, after which it begins to lose bone density. Eating food rich in this mineral can help replace that loss, but the body also needs vitamin D to be able to process it. Pregnancy, diet, hormone imbalance, certain illnesses and also some medications increase the natural loss of this mineral from the bones. Consuming excessive quantities of alcohol, smoking, lack of physical activity and inadequate exposure to the sun, which helps the body produce vitamin D, also take their toll.
The menopause tends to accelerate this process and can lead to osteoporosis if preventative measures are not taken. Despite common belief, osteoporosis is not a women's problem and can also affect men as they age.
As many deaths are caused by fractures of the femur in elderly patients it is necessary to take measures to protect our bones as early as possible, but certainly after the menopause.
The recipe for healthy bones is calcium, plus vitamin D, plus weight bearing exercise. The bones of the human skeleton contain 99.5% of the total amount of this mineral in the body. That within bones is available should the body need it for other purposes, but needs to be replaced to maintain healthy bones.
|Food, Standard Amount || |
|Plain yogurt, non-fat (13 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container || |
|Romano cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|Pasteurized process Swiss cheese, 2 oz || |
|Plain yogurt, low-fat (12 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container || |
|Fruit yogurt, low-fat (10 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container || |
|Swiss cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|Ricotta cheese, part skim, ½ cup || |
|Pasteurized process American cheese food, 2 oz || |
|Provolone cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|Mozzarella cheese, part-skim, 1.5 oz || |
|Cheddar cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|Fat-free (skim) milk, 1 cup || |
|Muenster cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|1% low-fat milk, 1 cup || |
|Low-fat chocolate milk (1%), 1 cup || |
|2% reduced fat milk, 1 cup || |
|Reduced fat chocolate milk (2%), 1 cup || |
|Buttermilk, low-fat, 1 cup || |
|Chocolate milk, 1 cup || |
|Whole milk, 1 cup || |
|Yogurt, plain, whole milk (8 g protein/8 oz), 8-oz container || |
|Ricotta cheese, whole milk, ½ cup || |
|Blue cheese, 1.5 oz || |
|Mozzarella cheese, whole milk, 1.5 oz || |
|Feta cheese, 1.5 oz || |
Source: Nutrient values from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Foods are from ARS single nutrient reports, sorted in descending order by nutrient content in terms of common household measures. Food items and weights in the single nutrient reports are adapted from those in 2002 revision of USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 72, Nutritive Value of Foods. Mixed dishes and multiple preparations of the same food item have been omitted from this table.
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