Boosting your dietary calcium intake
Calcium is vital for bone formation and keeping bones strong. It is important to boost your calcium intake if you are at risk of developing, or if you already suffer from, osteoporosis.
The recommended daily calcium intake is 350mg for children aged one to three years; 450mg for four- to six-year-olds; 550mg for children aged seven to ten; 1000mg for boys aged 11-18 and 800mg for girls the same age; and at least 700mg for adults. Anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis may need to increase their intake to 1200mg per day.
The mineral calcium is better absorbed by the body from food rather than in a supplement. Obvious sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, but calcium is also found in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, canned fish eaten with the bones, tofu, dried apricots, and figs.
Once you know how, it is relatively easy to make meals calcium-rich for an easy lunch transformation to boost calcium intake.
Low-calcium lunch - Although healthy in many respects, a lunch of tomato soup, tuna and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread, fresh pear, and glass of water provides just 94mg of calcium.
High-calcium lunch - A bowl of cream of broccoli soup topped with grated reduced-fat Cheddar, a canned salmon and watercress sandwich, dried figs, and glass of skimmed milk will provide 821mg of calcium.
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