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Women are urged to take calcium predominately for bone development. Young women need to focus on their calcium intake in order to increase bone density as they develop. This can ward of osteoporosis in later life. Older women need to increase calcium intake in order to reduce bone breakages. There is research also being carried out linking calcium deficiency to more severe symptoms of PMT.
How much calcium you require as a woman.
- a) Ages 11-24 (adolescents and young adults): 1200-1500 mg
- b) Ages 25-50: 1000 mg
- c) Pregnant and nursing: 1200-1500 mg
- d) Older than 50 (postmenopausal):
— on estrogens: 1000 mg
— not on estrogens: 1500 mg
- e) Older than 65: 1500 mg
What’s wrong with milk?
While dairy has the highest share of calcium out of all food groups, it is of no use to vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant or allergic.
Another problem with dairy is its high-fat quantity. According to http://www.estronaut.com, “The non-fat options are often unappealing. For example, take an average woman taking in 2,000 calories/day and requiring 1200 mg of calcium/day. If she was to get all of her daily requirements for calcium from drinking 2% milk, she would have already used up 40% of the calories from fat that she should be getting for that day. Even worse, drinking whole milk would take up 80% of her calories from fat! The latter choice comes close to eliminating meat eating, if she wants to a diet that is low-fat, but meets her calcium needs.”
However there are other ways for a woman to get her recommended daily allowance of calcium, beyond milk products.
1) Non-dairy foods: broccoli (36 mg/0.5 cup cooked), sardines (420 mg/213 g), clams, oysters, kale (90 mg/0.5 cup cooked), turnip greens (99 mg/0.5 cup cooked), and mustard greens.
2) Artificially calcium-fortified: juices and cereals. Calcium-fortified orange juice contains 320 mg/cup, while calcium-fortified cereals contain 200 mg/cup.
3) Supplements: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium gluconate, calcium glubionate, calcium lactate, tricalcium phosphate
4) Other forms: Tums, Viactive, Soy milk (200-500 mg/cup). Tums are tablets that contain calcium carbonate. One regular strength tablet contains 200 mg and one extra strength tablet contains 300 mg.
5) Milk (whole, 2%, 1%, and skim) contains 315 mg/cup and fruit-flavored yogurt contains 259 mg per ¾ cup.