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Women especially often have a hard time getting all of the calcium they need to maintain strong bones. Three out of four get less than the recommended intake (1,200 mg every day), with most getting less than half of what they should. At this rate, it’s no wonder one out of two women end up with osteoporosis and suffer fractures. And it’s not just lack of calcium in the diet that may be causing the disease, but other lifestyle choices as well: Smoking and too much alcohol both weaken our bones, while weight-bearing exercise is necessary to build and maintain bone.

Calcium and Your Bones
Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, among many other important functions. Because calcium has so many important jobs, it’s important to get enough of it in your diet.

How much calcium do you need?
0-6 months 210 milligrams / day
7-12 months 270 milligrams / day
1-3 years 500 milligrams / day
4-8 years 800 milligrams / day
9-18 years 1,300 milligrams / day
19-50 years 1,000 milligrams / day
50+ years 1,200 milligrams / day

Avoid high-protein diets
The body needs protein to build healthy bones. But as your body digests protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream that the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the bones. Following a high-protein diet for a short time is unlikely to make much of a difference. But over a long period of time, eating a lot of protein could weaken your bones.

Magnesium, vitamin D & vitamin K
When it comes to your bones, calcium alone is not enough. There are a number of other vital nutrients that help your body absorb and make use of the calcium you consume. The most important of these are magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

Calcium and magnesium
Magnesium helps your body absorb and retain calcium. Magnesium works closely with calcium to build and strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Since your body is not good at storing magnesium, it is vital to make sure you get enough of it in your diet. Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, seafood, legumes, tofu, and many vegetables.

Calcium and vitamin D
Vitamin D is another critical nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and regulates calcium in the blood. Your body synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to the sun. However, a large percentage of people are vitamin D deficient—even those living in sunny climates.

Calcium and vitamin K
Vitamin K helps the body regulate calcium and form strong bones. Include vitamin K in your diet by eating green, leafy vegetables or taking a supplement with vitamin K. You should be able to meet the daily recommendation for vitamin K (120 micrograms for men; 90 micrograms for women) by simply eating one or more servings per day of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dark green lettuce, collard greens, or kale.




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