Monday, 8 December 2014

How to Estimate your Calcium Intake

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body and supports a healthy skeleton. In fact, 99% of the body's calcium is found in bones and teeth. It plays 2 main roles within bones & teeth: calcium is part of the structural framework hydroxyapatite, and it serves as a bank for when dietary calcium is low.

The 1% of calcium in the blood is balanced by vitamin D, as well as calcitonin and parathyroid hormones:
Blood Calcium Balance 
In general, we don't want to leach out the calcium from our bones, since it makes up the structure and strength of our bones and teeth. So... we must ensure to reach our peak bone mass (between ages 20-30) and consistently eat plenty of calcium rich foods (both to reach the peak bone mass, and maintain bone mass).
Picture from Skin SheenOtherwise, we may face osteoporosis. This disease takes a lifetime to develop and effects 1/4 Canadian women and 1/8 men. It can be easily prevented by a healthy diet.

Shortcut to measure Calcium Intakes:

To ensure adequate calcium intake, you can quickly tally up calcium rich foods. Keep in mind that the recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1000 mg/day (for 19-50 year olds).

50 g cheese = 1 point
1 cup milk, yogurt, or fortified soy beverage = 1 point
90 g canned sardines with bones = 1 point
1 cup ice cream, cottage cheese, or boiled broccoli (or green leafy veggies) = 0.5 point
A well-balanced diet with high variety of foods = 1 point

1 point = ~300 mg of calcium
Thus, you need 3-4 points of calcium intake to meet requirements