New Castle News

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January 31, 2013

Lori Brothers: Getting enough calcium can help avoid osteoporosis

NEW CASTLE — We all know that consuming dairy products is a great way to get calcium into your diet.

Making them fat-free also impacts your heart health. Milk, ice cream, Cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, American cheese, Mozzarella cheese and yogurt all contain around 100 mg of calcium per serving.

A friend of mine recently asked me for advice about how to use food to help her diagnosis of osteopenia, an early stage of osteoporosis. National Osteoporosis Month isn’t until May. However, we really need to consider every month osteoporosis month because it is so important to make a difference in your lifestyle to avert this bone-diminishing disease.

So, besides dairy, here is a list of nondairy products that are rich in calcium to add to your diet:

•Broccoli

•Kale

•Turnip greens

•Spinach

•Beets

•Carrots

•Celery

•Eggplant

•Mustard greens

•Tomatoes

Yes, there is also calcium in fruit. Remember to include apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, and apricots. Also, remember to add a handful of almonds to your diet.

Other foods rich in calcium include: Soybeans, white beans, sardines, eggs, and chickpeas.

Here’s a great tip: when reading labels, you can look at any label and assess how much calcium is in the product. Drop the percent sign and add a zero in its place. For example, if something has 15 percent calcium it is 150 mg of calcium per serving. Note: this only works for calcium.

As a guideline when reading labels, the Daily Value for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults and children aged 4 years and older. Foods providing 20 percent or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient.

Maintaining bone health also requires that you get weight-bearing exercise into your daily routine. Strength training, such as with stretch bands, is very helpful. Light walking in well-cushioned shoes is also helpful.

Calcium supplements can be useful, check with your nutritionist or doctor to determine if your diet needs a calcium boost. It is important to note that you can only absorb 600 mg of calcium at one time. So space out supplements at least four to six hours apart.

Jameson’s HOPE class which targets osteoperosis will be offered this Spring. Call Jameson’s Staff and Community Education office (724) 656-4270.

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