Calcium. It’s one of those things we know we need for healthy bones and teeth. But how much do we need, exactly? And how much is in your food? Like most people, I don’t know the answers to these questions. But as I’ve shared in the past I’m a Swiss Natural Ambassador, so I’m going to try to get to the bottom of this mineral.
First things first. When I was researching vitamin and mineral supplements for children I learned that, according to the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, more than 10% of Canadians don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D. That’s a significant minority of us. You’re more likely to experience calcium deficiency if you’re lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, if you’re a post-menopausal woman, if you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re a woman who exercises heavily. As well, certain foods and beverages can interfere with calcium absorption including tea, red wine, coffee and chocolate.
All right, we all need more calcium. But how much, exactly? According to the National Institutes for Health kids aged four to eight and adults aged 19 to 50 need 1000mg every day. Kids aged 9-18 need more – 1300mg each day – because they’re growing. And women aged 51 and over need 1200mg each day, because of that whole post-menopausal thing. Basically, when you’re not producing as much estrogen, you don’t absorb calcium as efficiently. To give you an idea of how much you’re getting through your food one serving of milk, cheese or yogurt contains about 300-400mg of calcium, one serving of canned salmon contains 150-200mg of calcium, and one serving of kale contains about 90mg.
When you consider the amount of calcium in the food you eat, it’s no surprise that many of us don’t get enough. This is why taking a calcium supplement may make sense. Recently I’ve tried the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Chewable from (… wait for it) Swiss Natural. Each soft chew contains 600mg of calcium and 400 I.U. of vitamin D. Plus they’re delicious. They’re recommended for adults and children age six and up, and I can tell you that you will not have to fight with your kids to take these. In fact, it may be exactly the opposite – ours are under lock and key to keep the kids out of them.
As I said, we all know how important calcium is, for us and our children. No one wants to develop osteoporosis, or suffer from stress fractures, because they’re not getting enough. If you’re eating lots of calcium-rich foods, that’s great. If you’re not – or you’re not sure – a supplement may make sense. If you find yourself in that boat, you may want to check out what Swiss Natural has to offer by following them on Facebook.
Now, I want to hear from you. How do make sure you’re getting enough calcium? And do you think you could consume 11 servings of kale every day to get the recommended 1000mg? If so, I’m super-impressed!
Disclosure: As a Swiss Natural Ambassador, I was paid to write this post.