FUELIXIR’S FAST GUIDE TO CALCIUM
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED?
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the average female and male under the age of 50 should be consuming 1,000 mg of calcium per day. A female over the age of 50 is recommended to have about 1,200 mg per day, while a male over 50 should be around 1,000 mg per day. As an athlete, it’s important to be consuming at least the daily recommendation of calcium because of the wear and tear that endurance training does to the bones. It’s been found that almost 15% of all athletic injuries are associated with bone strength or density. Calcium is also important for proper muscle contraction and can help prevent cramping, too. Most people can reach the proper amounts of calcium through their diet – most notably, by eating dairy foods.
BUT I HATE MILK AND DAIRY!
Never fear! There are plenty of other foods that contain calcium, whether it’s naturally occurring in the food or it’s fortified into it. Some great options are:
Collard Greens (8 oz = 360 mg of calcium)
Oranges (1 whole = 55 mg of calcium)
Salmon (3 oz = 180 mg of calcium)
Fortified Oatmeal (1 packet = 140 mg of calcium)
Fortified Almond Milk (8 oz = 300 mg of calcium)
There are a ton of ways to reach your recommended amounts of calcium on a daily basis – all you have to do is know where to look for it!
SO I’LL JUST EAT MORE OF THESE FOODS, THEN.
If you’re low on your intake of calcium, eating a balanced diet that includes all of the proper nutrients should cover it. However, don’t forget to eat your share of Vitamin D, too – you need around 600 IU per day (under the age of 50 m/f) from both food sources and the sun to help absorb the calcium into your body once you’ve eaten that slice of cheese or spinach salad. Since your body doesn’t make calcium naturally, your must get it all from your diet. So eating the right things to ensure you’re bones are healthy is crucial. There are also supplements available on the market if the diet plan you’re following isn’t cutting it.
DROP THE MIC
Getting all of the proper nutrients in your diet is supposed to be easy and fun, but for an endurance athlete that’s following a strict diet plan during the training season, it may prove difficult to guarantee the right amounts on a daily basis. Always keep your entire body’s health in mind while you eat and exercise. By staying mindful about your bone health, you’ll be able to enjoy your workouts for many years to come!
AUTHOR: Karina Marshall, B.S. Nutrition Sciences
NIH. (2016). Calcium. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://odds.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
NOF. (2017). Calcium/Vitamin D. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/
Williams, M. (2005). Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Minerals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2:1, 43-49. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129162/
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