Bones do a lot for us. Without them, we would probably look like blobs and have to roll around to get places. Our muscles wouldn't be very effective, either. Besides structure, the bones do even more. Along with our teeth, bones hold 99% of the calcium in our bodies! Calcium is pretty important because the body uses it to keep our blood from getting too acidic. Here's how: when there's too much acid floating around in your blood, calcium gets pulled out of your bones to neutralize the acid. That calcium then ends up in the urine and is flushed out of the body. For more reading about calcium, diet, and bone health, here are a couple links: See what Harvard has to say about dairy. Great article on acidity, calcium resorption, & diet. A nerdy, scientific article from the American Society for Nutrition. All about Calcium, Dairy & Osteoporosis from the American College of Nutrition.
It's the kind of question that our mothers harass us with. When we voice our answer, doctors stare at us disapprovingly. This is also the reason we avoid dietitians, or outright lie to nurses and grandmothers. When you're old, you won't want to move much anyway, right? What am I talking about? Calcium! It's National Osteoporosis Day, so in the spirit I calculated yesterday's calcium intake: Almost Zero (you know, if you count a piece of cake or 2 miscellaneous eggs). As much as I'd like to ignore this and pretend I get plenty of calcium, I don't want to have a hunchback at 60 years old. My great aunt is 90 and still travels the world! Talk about inspiring. So how do you get more calcium? And not just in your diet - how do you make sure it gets into your bones and stays there, after you're old and prone to falling from natural declines in your sense of balance? I'll give you a hint: dairy doesn't make your bones any less frail. So what are good sources of calcium, then? Click the link, or read on: leafy greens (especially kale), nuts (almonds!), seeds, soy, and white beans. See Whole Food's list for more ideas. Exercise is also great for strengthening bones, but it needs to be weight-bearing, like these workout ideas (floating in the pool doesn't count). Try yoga, running, or dancing! Do you have any favorite workouts or calcium-rich recipes?