How a calcium-rich diet can help safeguard against osteoporosis

How a calcium-rich diet can help safeguard against osteoporosis

Calcium – the guardian of bones

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. We store 99% of our intake in our teeth and bones, and it is the single most important nutrient to build, maintain and optimise the performance of our skeletal structure.


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The UK recommended daily amount (RDA) of calcium is 700mg a day for adults and pregnant women, and varies with age and gender for children as follows:

• Children (aged 1-3) – 350mg
• Children (aged 4-6) – 450mg
• Children (aged 7-10) – 550mg
• Boys (aged 11-18) – 1000mg
• Girls (aged 11-18) – 800mg

Our calcium absorption rate drops with age, inflating the risk of developing osteoporosis as we mature.

Osteoporosis – facts and stats

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become porous, fragile and prone to painful fractures caused by minor bumps and falls, most commonly in the wrists, hips and spine. Claiming a staggering three million sufferers in the UK, The National Osteoporosis Society has dubbed it the ‘silent epidemic’, as there are no associated symptoms or warning signs prior to a fracture or subsequent diagnosis.

On average, bone density starts to decline at the age of 35. Women experience a rapid demise of bone tissue after menopause, while bone loss in men spikes around the age of 55. The National Osteoporosis Society data suggests that 50% of all women and one in five men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture after the age of 50.

Feast yourself fit – bone-nourishing bites

There is nothing we can do to halt the natural deterioration of bone tissue that comes with aging. However, it is important to buffer the fact with a lifelong calcium-balanced diet to keep the risk of osteoporosis-induced injuries to a minimum in later life.

Get wise to the calcium count of products on your supermarket shelves, and make sure you maintain a steady RDA of this essential mineral.

FOOD PORTION CALCIUM %RDA*
Edam/Gouda cheese 40g 300mg 43%
Parmesan cheese 30g 300mg 43%
Cheese omelette 120g 300mg 43%
Quiche (cheese and egg) 140g 300mg 43%
Cheddar cheese and low-fat hard cheese 30g 200mg 29%
Halloumi (2 thin slices) 35g 200mg 29%
Sardines (canned)  50g 200mg 29%
Tofu (steamed or fried) 120g 200mg 29%
Yoghurt (low-fat fruit, plain and calcium boosted soy) 125g 200mg 29%
Porridge (made with semi-skimmed milk)  160g 200mg 29%
Rice pudding  200g 200mg 29%
Lasagne (meal for one, vegetable or meat) 290g 200mg 29%
Almonds (10 whole nuts)  22g 50mg 7%
Bread (wholemeal)   44g 50mg 7%
Fromage frais (fortified, 1 mini pot)   47g 50mg 7%
Muesli (Swiss style) 50g 50mg 7%
Dried apricots (8 fruits) 64g 50mg 7%
Red kidney beans (2 tablespoons) 70g 50mg 7%
Green or French beans 90g 50mg 7%
Green cabbage 95g 50mg 7%
Broccoli (steamed) 110g 50mg 7%
Satsuma/tangerine (3 fruits)  210g 50mg 7%
Pasta  230g 50mg 7%
Vegetable casserole 260g 50mg 7%
Canned tomatoes (1 tin) 400g 50mg 7%
Milk (skimmed, semi-skimmed and calcium-enriched alternatives e.g. soya milk or almond milk) 200ml 240mg 34%
*%RDA based on 700mg recommended daily amount for adults (NHS Choices)

 

 


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