A CRUCIAL MINERAL
Calcium, along with protein and vitamin D, is essential for healthy bones. Without it, your risk of brittle bone disease or osteoporosis increases, making you prone to fractures and breaks. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but is especially common in postmenopausal women due to a decline in the female hormone, oestrogen, which protects bones.
Up until your teenage years, the skeleton gets rid of old bone and builds new bone to replace it. Bone density peaks at age 20 – and the decline begins after. As you age, you lose more bone than is formed. To prevent bone loss and thinning, you need to consume calcium-rich foods.
When calcium is lacking, the mineral is taken from the bones to replenish calcium stores in other parts of the body, resulting in bone loss. You also lose calcium daily through excretion and perspiration.
But don’t forget: Calcium also prevents heartburn and premenstrual syndrome, and helps keep the nerves, muscles, kidneys and heart healthy.