One of the inherent differences in women is their need for a higher source of calcium. Bones in the female body are lighter in weight and more fragile than those in the male body. Calcium is a requirement for all humans, but once females reach the age of puberty their need for calcium increases beyond the demand of males. This requirement will follow them throughout the rest of their lives, and it is important to understand how to consume the correct amount of calcium from the most significant sources.
The American diet is notorious for being short on many nutritional values – calcium being one of them. Diets with an inadequate amount of calcium inhibit the growth of adolescents and teens, and this inadequacy can contribute to low bone mass in adults. The growing bodies of girls require extra amounts of calcium to help prepare their bodies for the future. While it may not seem fair, the female body was designed to “hold on” to fat more than the male body. Yet, these fatty deposits are specifically necessary for becoming pregnancy, carrying a full-term pregnancy, and being able to breastfeed. Nearly half of all bone is formed during the ages of puberty, which means that girls need to consume plenty of calcium in their diets during these years. Strong bones are better able to stand up to the demands that will be placed upon them in the future. Adults between the ages of 19-50 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, while adolescents need to consume 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes brittleness in the bones at a later age. Whether you are the mother of a teenage girl or you are a woman in your 40s, it is crucial to understand how vital calcium is. Gaining adequate measures of calcium before the age of 50 will help you as you grow older. As hormones change during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, the body will continue to go through significant changes that can all lead to a woman’s body growing weaker in later years.
Diets high in healthy sources of calcium include:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Almond milk
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Calcium-fortified foods (e.g., fruit juice, cereals, calcium supplements)
- Salmon, soft-boned fish
At Marietta OB-GYN, we are committed to women’s health. If you feel that your diet (or your daughter’s diet) is lacking in calcium, please contact us for an appointment. We can help educate you on finding ways to incorporate calcium-rich foods and supplements into your daily diet.