No matter your age, we all can reap the benefits of incorporating the recommended amount of calcium in our diets. The recommended intake may shift depending on our age, but it remains a constant necessity throughout our lives.
The bones that make up your skeleton are made up various minerals, including calcium. Without calcium, bones are weakened and have less density which might lead to osteoporosis. This means an increase risk of fractures, including spinal fractures. To keep those bones strong, it is necessary to replenish them with sufficient calcium intake. A doctor or nutrition professional can help you determine the appropriate amount of calcium you need.
So what foods can you include in your diet to make sure you get the calcium you need for bone health?
Milk, cheese, and yogurt
This one is probably not a surprise. Dairy products reign supreme in getting you the calcium your body craves. A glass of milk has about 299 mg of calcium; a slice of cheese has about 307 mg; and a container of fruit yogurt is about 313-384 mg of calcium. Alternatives to milk and dairy products have been gaining popularity in recent years, but if you are switching to almond, soy, or other varieties of milk, make sure to supplement your calcium intake in other ways (calcium-enriched alternative milk options may be available as well).
Green leafy vegetables
This includes kale, bok choi, and broccoli. Kale has been an increasing popular vegetable in recent year that has 100 mg of calcium; Bok choi has 74 mg per cup; Broccoli has 21 mg of calcium for ½ a cup. Add these vegetables to a salad at lunch and/or dinner to easily include more calcium in your diet. Also, eating green leafy vegetables would be a great alternative to those who are unable to consume dairy products.
You might have noticed the label on some of the foods you purchased already, including orange juice (261 mg a glass) and cereal (100-1,000 mg per cup). These products are to help you meet your nutritional needs.
Evert, A. (2013, February 18). Calcium in diet. Retrieved from Medline Plus website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002412.htm
Calcium. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2015, from http://www.iofbonehealth.org/calcium website: http://www.iofbonehealth.org/calcium
Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2013, November 21). Calcium. Retrieved 6, 2015, from National Institute of Health website: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheet/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
If you happened to see our race training plan for Spinal Champions, you might have noticed the plan included hip strength. Not quite ready to train for a race yet? Not a problem, because these exercises are still relevant to you since hip strength is an important part of spinal health as well.
Trainer Carrie Seifert of the Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center shares 3 different exercises for hip strengthening, and shares tips on how to perform the exercise safely and effectively.
One of the Spinal Research Foundation’s favorite ways to celebrate Spinal Champions is with our We’ve Got Your Back national race series. For many, imagining participating in a race after overcoming spinal health challenges might seem overwhelming. However, with the Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center’s 2 Month Training Program, you might discover that you can walk or run at our race events with proper preparation and a positive attitude. And if you are not ready this year, we still encourage to enjoy the WGYB Health fair and cheer on fellow Spinal Champions.