Dairy products Photo: Thinkstock
Want to avoid breaking a bone? It could be as easy as taking a regular calcium supplement. According to an Australian study that looked at more than 64,000 people aged over 50 worldwide, taking calcium supplements, or calcium combined with vitamin D, can reduce the chance of fracture by 12%. For participants who stuck closely to their tablet regimen, the risk dropped by twice that amount.
Studies also show that boosting calcium intake can alleviate PMS symptoms. University of Massachusetts researchers compared the diets and supplement use of two groups of women: over 1000 women aged 27 to 44 who reported developing PMS over the course of ten years, and almost 2000 women who reported no diagnosis of PMS in the same time period. It was concluded that women with high intakes of calcium from food sources had a lower risk of developing severe PMS. Participants had an intake of 1200mg of calcium combined with vitamin D. The researchers suggest that younger women should be encouraged to up their calcium intake, considering its dual benefits as a PMS reliever and osteoporosis fighter.
DAIRY CALCIUM FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Slurping a milkshake could actually be the perfect solution to keep your weight in check. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, boosting calcium intake from milk and increasing vitamin D levels could help you lose weight. Comparing the calcium intake of two groups over two years, the study found that participants with the highest dairy calcium intake six months into the study lost on average 5kg at the end of the two years. The researchers concluded that dairy calcium might accelerate weight loss by decreasing the amount of fat you absorb.
Loading up on calcium is easy: simply aim to get three serves of calcium-rich foods daily.
> Calcium is most easily absorbed from dairy products, so plan to get more than half your intake from that source. People with lactose intolerance should opt for soy products fortified with calcium.
> Add milk or skim milk powder to soups or casseroles.
> Use yoghurt in desserts and salads.
> Whip up a meal using sardines, salmon or tofu.
> Speak to a dietitian or nutritionist for an individual food plan.
> Take calcium supplements as directed by your doctor.
Bear in mind that calcium absorption can be reduced by excessive caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks and diets high in animal proteins. It’s also lost through sweat and urine. So it’s important to keep up your intake, if only to compensate for that regular loss.
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