Think of gleaming white teeth, strong bones, a means to prevent osteoporosis, and yes, the famous milk mustache, and you’ll be thinking of calcium. It's an essential dietary element that’s necessary for good health. Not only is calcium important to build and strengthen bones, it's also vital for efficient nerve and muscle functioning. Add to this, calcium's critical role in regulating blood pressure and assisting with the clotting of blood, two functions that have life-saving implications.
So what's the best way to take in more calcium? Just like your mother told you: drink 2-3 glasses of milk each day.
Low or non-fat dairy products are the best source of calcium because they contribute little or no heart-unhealthy saturated fat.
Along with various dairy products, increase calcium amounts in your diet by eating a variety of whole grains and canned fish. Look for soups or stews that include dried beans, another great calcium source. Add a selection of dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli. Look for calcium-enriched products too, like orange juice with calcium added, breakfast bars and some cereals.
When considering how much calcium you need, consult the basic daily requirements (RDA) established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These requirements are based on individual heights and weight, but generally, all adults need at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day, children even more. Also, be aware that in order to absorb calcium, the body also needs to take in vitamin D.