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Calcium For Women – Facts, Significance And Dietary Sources

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

Are you getting adequate amounts of calcium daily? Calcium is a macro nutrient that is vital for our health. The mineral strengthens bones and teeth, facilitates muscle contraction and blood clotting, and helps secretion of hormones and nerve impulse conduction. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, and it is exceedingly crucial that you get the recommended daily dosage so that your body works in harmony.

Why do women need calcium?

Bone health

Radish

99% of the calcium is stored in our body in the bones and teeth. The mineral is very vital for the development and maintenance of bones.

During the growth phase, calcium plays a crucial role in the development of bones. Once the growth phase gets completed, calcium helps maintain healthy bone structure and makes sure there is no loss of bone density which occurs as age progresses. Unfortunately, women are more prone to osteoporosis than men are and consequently need to take additional care, especially those in the age group of 30 to 40 years.

Menopausal women lose bone density at a very fast rate compared to younger women. They have a very high risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures, and doctors advocate a high calcium diet along with calcium supplements.

Muscle contraction

Calcium is necessary for muscle contraction. When a nerve stimulates a muscle, calcium is released and it assists the proteins in the muscle to carry out the contraction. When calcium is pulled out of the muscle, the muscle relaxes.

Heart health

Calcium and blood clotting go hand in hand. Blood clotting is a complex process, involving a host of elements, including calcium. The mineral also maintains normal action of the heart muscle. It relaxes the smooth muscle surrounding the blood vessels and clinical trials are demonstrative of the fact that there is a strong link between a good intake of calcium and low blood pressure.

Another very significant use of the mineral is during pregnancy. When you consume adequate amounts of calcium, you have a lower risk of developing pregnancy-related hypertension. What’s more, women who consume sufficient calcium during pregnancy show good cholesterol levels as well.

How much calcium do we need?

Women up to the age of 50 years need 1000 milligrams per day and after the age of 50 years, they need 1200mg per day. You need to ensure that you consume plenty of calcium-packed foods daily to guarantee that you are receiving the adequate amount.

Calcium-rich foods include -

Eat Breakfast
  • Milk
  • Dahi or Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Paneer
  • Tofu
  • Sardines And Salmon
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and methi,
  • Cereals
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds and sesame
  • Legumes

Calcium rich dishes

1.Bowl of Fruit & Yogurt: Radish Yogurt is an outstanding source of calcium. Team 1 big bowl of yogurt with a fruit of your choice and top it off with sesame seeds, almonds and chia seeds and you’ve got yourself about half of your daily calcium requirement. Plus, the pro-biotics in the dahi do wonders for your immune mechanism.

2.Tofu fry:Tofu is made with soybean and calcium sulfate, and greatly helps boost the calcium content. Throw in veggies of your choice, along with some paneer and you have a delicious and calcium-loaded meal.

3.Palak paneer: A heaven sent for the weight-watchers! Cottage cheese in the recipe keeps the fat in check and proffers oodles of calcium. 1 cup of cooked and pureed spinach gives about 200 milligrams of calcium. Succulent paneer in creamy verde paalak sauce is your yummy calcium-fix for the day!

It is definitely prudent to keep a watch on your diet to get the recommended daily dose of calcium. Do confer with your health care professional to understand your body’s specific needs and incorporate the correct foods and supplements in your diet.


DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

Skin Care

For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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