As adults, we are often telling children to make sure they get enough Calcium to help them build strong bones. While it’s true that peak bone growth happens during the child and adolescent years (making Calcium an important part of childhood nutrition) the story doesn’t end here.
Calcium is best known for its role in our bones. However, proper Calcium concentrations in the blood are necessary to ensure that our most important muscle, the heart, contracts properly. In order to make sure of this, our bones, are constantly broken down and rebuilt as the Calcium store of our body. When there is enough Calcium in our diet, and for our heart, we store this Calcium in our bones. When we don’t give our bodies enough Calcium, we can pull out Calcium from our bones for our muscles to use. While this is a great system to keep our heart beating- over time this can cause our bones to weaken, and can lead to Osteoporosis and increased fracture risk.
Inorder to optimize bone health, Health Canada recommends Canadians consume between 1000-12oo mg Calcium per day. Though many Canadians may benefit from Calcium supplements, the best bet is always to turn to food first.
A full list of the Calcium content of foods can be found on the Dietitians of Canada website: http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Osteoporosis/Food-Sources-of-Calcium.aspx.
This includes a list of both dairy and non-dairy sources of Calcium for those who suffer from Lactose intolerance, or who do not enjoy milk products.
Go to the recipe page to get some delicious Winter recipes full of Calcium for bone health.