Calcium is a key mineral in maintaining our daily health and therefore a must have in our daily diet. This goes double for senior citizens, who are most vulnerable to a calcium deficiency.
Calcium: Why Seniors Must Have It
This mineral is important for maintaining bone health, but calcium levels decline in seniors for a variety of reasons. For one, caloric intake decreases as we age and consequently so do calcium levels. In general, seniors have poor appetites due to age or chronic illnesses.
From a physical standpoint, intestinal absorption decreases in the aged as calcium intake decreases. Furthermore, the kidneys in seniors are less efficient and thus retain less of the mineral. This loss is not replenished.
Calcium: Restoring Levels With Proper Diet
This mineral is important for your bones and teeth and plays a role in heart health, muscle function and nerve signaling.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for senior citizens is 1200 mg per day. The main foods rich in calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. In addition, many non-dairy sources are also high in this mineral. These include seafood, leafy greens, legumes, dried fruit, and tofu.
Here are several foods that are rich in calcium and which should be part of a senior citizen diet.
Most cheeses are excellent sources. Parmesan cheese has the most, with 331 mg — or 33% of the RDI — per ounce (28 grams).
As an added bonus, thebody absorbs the calcium in dairy products more easily than that from plant sources.
Many types of cheese are also packed with protein, such as cottage cheese.
Yogurt is an excellent source.
One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt contains 30% of the RDI for calcium, as well as phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B2 and B12 (10).
Low-fat yogurt may be even higher in calcium, with 45% of the RDI in one cup (245 grams).
In addition, one study linked eating yogurt to better overall diet quality and improved metabolic health. People who ate yogurt had lower risks of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Calcium: Sardines And Salmon
Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with this mineral, thanks to their edible bones.
A 3.75-ounce (92-gram) can of sardines packs 35% of the RDI, and 3 ounces (85 grams) of canned salmon with bones have 21% .
These oily fish also provide high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart, brain and skin.
While seafood can contain mercury, smaller fish such as sardines have low levels. In addition, both sardines and salmon have high levels of selenium, a mineral that can prevent and reverse mercury toxicity.
Of all nuts, almonds are among the highest in in this mineral. For example, one ounce of almonds, or about 22 nuts, delivers 8% of the RDI.
Almonds also provide 3 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), as well as healthy fats and protein. In addition, they’re an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and vitamin E.
Eating nuts may help lower blood pressure, body fat and other risk factors for metabolic disease.
As a senior citizen, it’s important to be aware that you can maintain high calcium levels by eating the proper foods as outlined above.