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Staying Healty  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Boosting calcium intake by drinking milk could reduce healthy adults' chances of a debilitating bone break.

If you're trying to lose weight, you might want to consider drinking more milk. While previous studies have shown that weight loss can cause dieters' bones to weaken.

Healthy Bones
No matter what your age, bone health is important. Strong bones help prevent osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become fragile and break easily. Often considered an "elderly" concern, osteoporosis prevention begins at an early age and continues throughout your lifetime. Bone mass develops rapidly between the ages of 10 and 20 and peaks at age 30. Building and maintaining strong bones depends on calcium, vitamin D, and physical activity.

Calcium is an important nutrient for your body and for your health. Calcium helps your heart, muscles, and nerves function. It is also important for bone health. Ninety-nine percent of your body's calcium is stored in your bones. Children and teenagers need adequate calcium in their diets so they can maximize the calcium storage in their bones. In later years, adequate dietary calcium helps minimize calcium loss from the bones.

The best sources of calcium are dairy products. Calcium should be provided in meals and snacks throughout the day. Try the Calcium Checklist to estimate how much calcium you get in a day. Follow the Food Guide Pyramid to obtain all the key nutrients you need.

Calcium Recommendations
Children 1 to 3 years 500 mg
Children 4 to 8 years 800 mg
Youth 9 to 18 years 1300 mg
Adult 19 to 50 years 1000 mg
Adult 51 + years 1200 mg

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