I’m going to break down the importance of calcium for women’s health is important because you need to understand the peaks and how to enhance intake, so you can properly take care of yourself!
Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and overall health. While it is important for people of all ages, women, in particular, have unique calcium needs due to various life stages and hormonal changes.
Calcium’s Role in the Body:
- Builds strong bones and teeth.
- It supports muscle function
- It’s involved in the transmission of nerve signals, allowing messages to travel between the brain and muscles.
- It plays a role in blood clotting
- It aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Activates certain enzymes which are essential for various chemical reactions in the body.
- Releases of hormones and neurotransmitters, which are important for communication within the body.
- Calcium is involved in cell signaling and the regulation of cell division.
- Maintains healthy pH levels in the body.
Did you know there’s a limit and a peak to when you reach your maximum calcium utilization/absorption? Cue “It’s just too little too lateA little too wrong, and I can’t wait” by JoJo.
Women’s calcium peaks around the age of 24 because this is the time when bone density typically reaches its highest point. After the age of 30, bone mass naturally starts to decline, making it crucial for women to maximize calcium intake during their peak years. IT is vital for preventing osteoporosis, arthritis, and related fractures later in life. So… START. FOCUSING. ON. FOODS. AND. SUPPLEMENTATION. NOW.
Where Can I Find Calcium?
To ensure adequate calcium intake, women should incorporate calcium-rich foods into their diet. You need to be incorporating some options daily. Here are a few of my favorite high-calcium options:
- Milk – 300 mg
- Yogurt – 300-400 mg
- Cheese – 200-300 mg (varies depending on the type of cheese)
- Tofu – 200-400 mg
- Almonds – 75 mg
- Sardines – 325 mg
- Salmon – 180 mg
- Spinach – 240 mg
- Kale – 95 mg
- Collard greens – 260 mg
- Chia seeds – 180 mg
- Sesame seeds – 280 mg
- Canned salmon with bones – 180-210 mg
- Fortified plant-based milk – 300-500 mg (varies depending on the brand and type)
- Fortified orange juice – 350 mg
Additionally, supplementation can be warranted for those who naturally are not getting enough calcium each day. The recommended daily intake of calcium varies depending on age, sex, and specific health conditions. Generally, women up to age 50 require around 1,000 mg of calcium per day, while women over 50 need 1,200 mg per day. It’s important to note that excessive calcium intake can have adverse effects. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.
- Calcium carbonate: This is the most commonly available form of calcium supplement. It contains the highest amount of elemental calcium (40% by weight) and is usually well absorbed when taken with food. It’s important to note that calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, so individuals taking medications for acid reflux or GERD should take it with meals.
- Calcium citrate: This form of calcium supplement is well-absorbed, even on an empty stomach. It contains a lower amount of elemental calcium (21% by weight) compared to calcium carbonate. Calcium citrate may be a better option for individuals with reduced stomach acid or those taking medications that affect stomach acid production.
Another nutritional consideration is that Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Spending time outdoors and getting sunlight exposure can support vitamin D synthesis in the body. Foods or supplementation for Vitamin D may be helpful to increase calcium absorption (learn more about food synergy).
Factors that Decrease Calcium Absorption:
Excessive intakes can contribute to calcium loss in the body and a decreased absorption. Consume these in moderation:
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Calcium:
There are certain lifestyle changes can enhance calcium absorption and retention. For example: consistent weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone health and help maintain bone density. These types of exercises include yoga, pilates, weight lifting, and jogging. Engaging in physical activity also promotes muscle strength, coordination, and balance, reducing the risk of falls and fractures.
Meeting the calcium needs of women, particularly during their peak years, is vital for maintaining optimal bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. By including calcium-rich foods in their diet, engaging in weight-bearing exercises, optimizing vitamin D levels, and moderating the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and sodium, women can take proactive steps toward improving their calcium intake and supporting overall well-being. Prioritizing these lifestyle changes will empower women to build strong, resilient bones and enjoy a healthier future.