Breaking my arm in January 2021 was a real wake up call for me. Here’s why…
Would it shock you to know that most females over the age of 10 don’t get enough calcium? Breaking my arm in January 2021 was a real wake up call for me. Even though I eat an extremely healthy diet, I realised my low tolerance for milk products had left me deficient in calcium, and as a result, with low bone density. I decided to do some research and found out I was far from alone.
A survey of nutrient intake* by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that over 90% of women over the age of 50 had an inadequate intake of calcium! Yes, 9 out of 10 women over 50 are not getting their daily quota of calcium. And in fact, according to their chart below, most people could do with more calcium.
How to make sure you get enough calcium in your day and why
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code** lists the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for adults at 800mg of calcium per day.
Calcium is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth and it’s also essential for muscle function, including the most important muscle in our body – our heart. Low calcium intake is linked to low bone density which, over time, often becomes osteoporosis, a condition common among post-menopausal women.
Yes! Calcium is important, and getting enough is something we should be conscious of. And, while calcium supplements are available, the best way to get your daily quota is through the food you eat.
The good news is that there are some excellent food sources that provide good amounts of calcium, take a look at the table below. You’ll notice that my Breakfast Shakes are a great source of calcium – one shake per day provides half of your daily calcium requirements.
Foods to boost your calcium intake
|Food source & serving size||Total Calcium|
|Symply Premium Breakfast Shakes||400mg|
|Symply Dairy Free Vanilla Shake||200mg|
|Symply Dairy Free Vanilla Shake made with 250ml of Unsweetened Almond Milk||500mg|
|250ml Skim Milk||300mg|
|250ml Unsweetened Almond Milk||300mg|
|250ml Low Fat Custard||373mg|
|175g tub Formé no fat yoghurt||232mg|
|150g tub Yoplait LeRICE Pudding||174mg|
|30g Bega Cheese 50% Light & Tasty||282mg|
|100g Canned Pink Salmon (with the bones in)||205mg|
|100g Firm Tofu||320mg|
|1 cup (35g) Spinach||20mg|
|30g Dried Figs||60mg|
And of course, there are lots of calcium rich recipes in my cookbooks. Following are just a few of the many recipes in my 8 cookbooks that provide a good source of calcium.
(Calcium per serve is shown in brackets)
- Curried Prawns (400mg) – Book 2
- Chicken Cottage Pie (340mg) – Book 7 and Cooking for 1 or 2 people
- Creamy Pumpkin and Pine Nut Sauce (315mg) – Book 3
- Penne Pasta in Creamy Bacon Sauce (347mg) – Book 4 and Cooking for 1 or 2 people
- Cherry Heaven (150mg) – Book 2
- Cookies and Cream Baked Cheesecake (158mg) – Book 6
Things that deplete your calcium levels
There are also a number of things that can deplete calcium in your bones
- A high sodium diet – junk foods, frozen convenience meals and canned foods tend to be high in sodium
- Excess caffeine – such as coffee, cola and energy drinks and to some extent, tea
- Excessive alcohol
- Smoking – yet another reason to quit
- Lack of exercise – remedy this with weight bearing exercise such as walking, dancing or playing sports. Other exercise such as lifting weights, swimming and bike riding will also strengthen bones
- Insufficient Vitamin D – often caused from reduced exposure to the sun
A final word
Of course, as with any foods, there is no single miracle food. It’s important to take into account the overall nutritional quality of your eating plan when considering whether you get enough calcium.
That’s why when I create menu plans for weight loss I make sure the daily calcium level is the recommended 800mg. I also include your daily requirements for protein, fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates and healthy fats. And, each of my shake flavours come with a downloadable 14 day weight loss menu plan that is nutritionally balanced.
So, once again, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balance of foods from all of the food groups teamed with regular moderate exercise is the answer to maintaining a healthy body.
What’s one thing you can do this week to improve your overall long-term health?
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** Source: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/applications/documents/A424IAR.pdf