Home > Food > General Nutrition > Nutritional Information > Calcium and Healthy Bones
|

Calcium and Healthy Bones

Why bother with calcium?

Imagine your bones as your calcium bank. Over the years, you can develop quite an extensive savings account by taking in plenty of calcium-rich foods and supplementing your diet with calcium pills. Keep up the good work as an adult and your bones stay calcium-rich!

On the other hand, regularly skimp on this mineral, and you'll wind up calcium-broke! Your body fluids still need calcium to regulate normal body functions. What these fluids don't get from food must be borrowed from the calcium-bone bank. Borrowing day after day, year after year, will deplete the savings account and leave you with osteoporosis (brittle bones that break easily).

Calcium is by far the most abundant mineral in your body, with about 99 percent of the stuff stored in your bones. The other 1 percent is located in your body fluids, where it helps to regulate functions such as blood pressure, nerve transmission, muscle contraction (including the heartbeat), clotting of blood, and the secretion of hormones and digestive enzymes. Make no bones about it: Calcium, along with vitamin D, fluoride, and phosphorus, is best known for its ability to promote strong, healthy bones. Calcium serves a vital role in bone structure, providing integrity and density to your skeleton. In turn, your bones act as a “calcium bank,” releasing calcium into your blood when your diet might be deficient (which we hope is not too often).

Many people think that once you're past a certain age, you don't have to worry about getting enough calcium. Wrong! Adequate calcium is important throughout your life: first and foremost for optimal bone building, and later on for bone maintenance. Generally, the first 24 years are important because your body is laying down the foundation for strong skeletal bones and teeth. In the first three decades of life, your bones reach their peak adult bone mass. (Bones are done growing in size and density.) Children who drink plenty of milk and eat other dairy and calcium-fortified foods will enter adulthood with stronger bones than those who skimp on calcium-rich foods.

Calcium intake in the later years is equally important for maintaining healthy bones. (I hope you already did all the right things in your first 30 years.) With age, your bones gradually lose their density (that is, calcium), which is especially true in menopausal women. People who take in adequate amounts of calcium can help slow down this process and defy those brittle bones of old age.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks