Facts on calcium and bone health

Transcript

Title:Facts on calcium and bone health

Calcium is closely linked to bone health.

Over 99% of the body's calcium is found in bones. Calcium, together with other minerals, contributes to bone strength.

A small amount of calcium is in our blood and cells.

They are needed for critical functions, helping our nerves transmitting messages, muscle contraction and our blood clotting.

We must get adequate calcium from our diet every day to keep ourselves fit.

Generally speaking, an adult aged between 18 and 49 needs a daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of calcium.

An adult aged 50 or above need more calcium, that is, about 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams a day. As to pregnant and breastfeeding women, they need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

Mothers-to-be need to pay attention. Insufficient calcium intake during pregnancy would increase the risk of gestational hypertension.

At all life stages, we need to have adequate calcium intake. Whenever we don’t get enough calcium from our diets, our body will mobilise calcium from our bones to maintain normal functions.

Having a diet with insufficient calcium persistently will increase the risk of developing osteoporosis over time.

So, we need to take more calcium-rich foods daily, including milk, cheese, yoghurt, and calcium-fortified soy milk. Dark green vegetables, firm tofu, dried beans, sesame seeds, nuts, fish that are eaten with bones are also good sources of calcium.

You may consider taking calcium supplements if you cannot get enough calcium from diet. It’s best to consult heatlh professionals before taking supplements.

Moreover, outdoor activities and expose to sunlight allows your skin to produce vitamin D which helps absorb calcium.

To keep calcium in your body, have a balanced diet, avoid salty foods, and consume meat, coffee and tea in moderation.

Apart from a healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises help keeping our bone healthy too. We can try dancing, rope skipping, hiking, playing ball games, jogging, climbing stairs and brisk walking.

A healthy diet and adequate physical exercise every day will keep your bones healthy and strong!

To learn more, please visit the website of the Family Health Service, Department of Health
www.fhs.gov.hk