Hello Fit Diva
Let’s chat about a topic that I think should have more focus on when us ladies hit our early 20’s….STRONG BONES!!!!!
It seems as though it’s recognized and addressed more in our mid 30’s to 40’s and then it may be too late. Even though we would think health & fitness & wellness is more main stream, I believe it’s just as confusing as ever because every other week a new diet, new pill, new exercise wants to explode and take over. I look around and see young women trying but then get frustrated and give up.
When I was only 29 almost 30…. 9 years ago, I had ACL replacement. (left knee gave out) I have been active my entire life starting at the age of 2. Dance, Gymnastics, soft ball. Then fitness competitions… and just super active being in the fitness industry for 15 plus years. When the ortho drilled into the bone in my knee, he was extremely surprised to see and feel how soft my bone tissue was??! He asked..do you cycle? I was like, YES sir I spin! NO..Do you cycle your periods????? Oh WOW!!! Um, No I am not regular at all and have not been for years. He (my ortho doctor) said..your bones are way too soft for an extremely active 30-year-old, something is not right.
It ALL boiled down to my awful diet I had during my 20’s. Which by the way I thought was “healthy”. No fat, no dairy, lots and lots of caffeine, and mainly chicken & eggs as my protein source. Hey… I thought I was doing the right thing. I looked perfect on the outside…. big eye roll insert here!!!!!!!!!! Oh and I was maybe getting my period 2-3 x a year. Wowza. I was just told.. you’re an athlete, it’s ok.
Thank God my knee doctor told me about my bones. I went and got a Dexa Scan and found out I had osteopenia at 29!!!!!!!! WHAT????
It was time to change that!!!!!!!!!! And time I still had being so young.
Before I go into the best foods to help, I wanna share some facts with you!
Who else remembers the “Got Milk?” campaign? When I was younger, I grew up seeing the “Got Milk?” advertisements and being told that milk (which is a calcium source) is good for you because it makes your bones stronger. This is true not just for children who are growing, but also for adults – and especially women! Women need calcium for a variety of reasons and the intake requirements vary at different ages. For example, women who are pregnant or athletes need more calcium. Female athletes tend to follow strict diets and exercise routines, which causes irregular periods due to lower levels of calcium. Calcium intake also becomes more vital at older ages for women because women are more susceptible to osteoporosis or bone thinning. And shorter or smaller women are even more at risk. Basically, if there isn’t enough calcium in one’s bloodstream, the body will start taking calcium from the bones, causing weaker bones. Therefore, women need to be aware of their calcium intake in order to prevent irregular periods, menopause, and osteoporosis.
How Much Calcium Do We Need?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board, it is recommended that the minimum amount of calcium intake should be 1,000 mg/day for adults ages 19-70. However, women ages 51-70 are expected to consume at least 1,2000 mg of calcium a day. Keep in mind that you also don’t want too much calcium (over 2,500 milligrams) because this could cause heart problems. So, stay balanced!
How Do I Know if I’m Getting Enough?
First consider your lifestyle. If you have a dairy intolerance or allergy, are vegan, an athlete, or pregnant, you may not be getting enough calcium. Look for the warning signs! One major warning sign (especially for athletes) is an irregular period. Early menopause is also an indicator of bone loss or osteoporosis. Luckily, there are ways to help your calcium levels! And trust me, it doesn’t just have to be by drinking more milk.
How Can I Increase My Calcium Levels?
Of course, you could have yogurt for breakfast, or consume other dairy products. However, this can get fattening and dairy is not tolerated in everyone’s diet. There are many other foods high in calcium besides dairy. Some of which are broccoli, kale, oranges, almonds, salmon, tofu, white beans, sweet potatoes, and sesame seeds. Calcium supplements can also be helpful, but I recommend researching the supplements and opting for organic options if you choose a supplement. If you still aren’t getting enough calcium, consider that there are other ways to prevent calcium absorption. Alcohol, caffeine, and lots of sodium can hinder the amount of calcium your body takes in. On the other hand, vitamin D (from foods and sun exposure) can actually help the amount of calcium your body absorbs.
People don’t often consider their calcium intake. However, calcium intake is very important, especially for women because lack of calcium can cause many negative health issues. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by porous and fragile bones, is a serious public health problem for more than 10 million U.S. adults, 80% of whom are women.” For most adults, the minimum amount of calcium required is 1,000 mg per day, which can not only come from dairy products, but also leafy greens, fish, and nuts. So, start thinking about your calcium intake as early as possible so that you can have strong bones and prevent osteoporosis or early menopause.
There are a few mentioned above but here are that will make you go.. WOW!!
Greens: spinach, kale, collard greens, kelp
Sardines & anchovies
Hopefully this made some light bulbs go off and you realize how important getting enough calcium into your fit diva daily diet really is a must. Be sure to have a list of 5 staple foods that you can consume on a weekly basis. Even make a whole dinner with all the foods high in calcium.
Baked Salmon sprinkled lightly with parmesan. A side of mashed butternut squash, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Along with a spinach salad. Maybe a glass of red wine if you stick your portion;)
If you can tolerate and enjoy a little dairy, snack on greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Along with getting in your natural foods that are higher in calcium, be sure you get in 3-4 days of weights, power walking or a good high intensity workout to keep weight-bearing moves on those must have strong bones!!!
For ideas, contact me:)
Until next time, try something new, move your body and smile!!!!
*Facts were researched and written by guest blogger: Rachelle Westervelt – rachelle104.com