Health tips: Stay away from these calcium sappers

  • Anjali Mukherjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 15, 2015 17:27 IST

Want to safeguard yourself from bone related illnesses such as osteoporosis? Then paying attention to what you eat is a must. Calcium is a mineral that does not get absorbed by the body easily. Only 20 to 30% of the ingested calcium is absorbed. Most of the unabsorbed calcium gets excreted through urine, stool and sweat.

When we are young, the body absorbs calcium more efficiently. So, if you drank gallons and gallons of milk while in your teens, apart from the rapid growth of bones and height, you have also ensured yourself a healthy adulthood. However, some teenagers often skip meals and avoid dairy products. They also eat junk food. This leads to fewer calcium deposits, reduces bone density and sets the stage for osteoporosis. This can lead to frequent fractures, bone pain, insomnia, leg cramps and high blood pressure later in life.

Bones get stronger and denser only up to the age of 25. From 25 to 35, bone strength is maintained. After 35, they get progressively weaker. For better absorption of calcium, it should be accompanied by magnesium, phosphorous, and Vitamins A, C and D. Apart from taking supplements, save yourself from unhealthy foods that deplete your body’s calcium.

Food items that prevent calcium absorption
*Soft drinks: Although phosphorous and magnesium are vital for calcium absorption, excess consumption can lead to problems. If you consume a lot of soft drinks, burgers, chocolates and the like, you may have a low level of calcium.

*Animal protein: Excessive intake of animal protein causes urinary loss of calcium. Consume fish, eggs or chicken only twice or thrice a week.

*Caffeine: It is present in tea, cocoa, chocolates, coffee and painkillers, and increases the rate at which calcium leaves your body. If you must, have up to two cups of coffee a day.

*Smoking and chewing tobacco: Consuming tobacco may also result in loss of calcium from the body.

*Drugs: Overuse of antacids, corticosteroids, anticoagulant (medicines for thinning blood) medication for thyroid disorders also decrease calcium absorption.

*Sedentary lifestyle: Involve yourself in physical activities such as walking, running and jogging.

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