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Preventing Postmenopausal Osteoporosis with Calcium


Postmenopausal women often experience rapid bone loss as estrogen levels decline. This is a condition called osteoporosis, which affects more than half of Americans age 50 and older. And it greatly increases your chances of breaking a hip or bone during a minor fall.

However, even though most women recognize the serious consequences of overall bone loss, many fail to acknowledge their own risk.

And this is an enormous mistake. Osteoporosis is sneaky — it creeps up on you over time without any visible symptoms. Consequently, most people don’t even know they have it until they get a bone density test or experience a break or fracture.

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The fact is, about one in every three women over the age of 50 will experience a fracture caused by osteoporosis. Most of these will occur in the forearm, hip or spine.

To make matters worse, research shows that once a woman experiences her first fracture, her chances of another almost doubles. After two fractures she is three times more likely to experience a third. And after three fractures, she’s at almost a five-fold risk for another one.

This makes it extremely important to bolster your bone health long before a first fracture ever occurs…or take immediate measures to strengthen your bones if you’ve already experienced one.

Are You Getting Enough Calcium to Support Your Bones?

You’ve most definitely heard that calcium is good for your bones. And it’s true. Your body is constantly breaking down the calcium in your bones and replacing it with new calcium — basically replacing old bone with new bone.

The problem occurs when your body removes more calcium than it replaces. This weakens your bones and makes them more prone to breaks and fractures.

A new study, published in the European menopause journal Maturatis has found that more than two-thirds of women here in the U.S. have inadequate calcium intake from diet alone. Even when you account for those who took a calcium supplement, the numbers were still dismal. Less than 50% achieved their age-specific recommendations for calcium.

As a result, the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) issued new guidelines with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of calcium in lowering the risk of osteoporosis.

The guidelines recommend that calcium intake should be between 700 and 1200 mg per day after menopause, including from food sources of calcium.

Before reaching for the first calcium supplement on the supermarket shelf, it’s important that you know what to look for. Calcium needs certain co-factors to exhibit optimal effectiveness. And if you’re taking the wrong form of calcium, it can do much more harm for your health than good. For a guide in choosing the best calcium supplement, check out our article A Calcium Breakdown: From the Best Forms to What Else it Does For Your Health.

Milk and Cheese Aren’t the Only Food Sources of Calcium

Milk, yogurt and cheese aren’t the only sources of calcium. There are many other foods you can add to your daily meals to boost your levels of this bone-healthy mineral. Following is a short list we compiled by searching the USDA nutrient database.

DescriptionAmountCalcium (milligrams)
Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate0.5 cup861
Soybeans, green, raw1.0 cup504
Nuts, almonds, dry roasted, without salt added1.0 cup370
Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt1.0 cup261
Garlic, raw1.0 cup246
Fish, salmon, pink, canned, drained solids3.0 oz241
Turnip greens and turnips, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt1.0 cup209
Spinach, canned, regular pack, solids and liquids1.0 cup194
Collards, frozen, chopped, unprepared10 oz191
Fish, salmon, pink, canned, without salt, solids with bone and liquid3.0 oz181
Cabbage, chinese (pak-choi), cooked, boiled, drained, with salt1.0 cup158
Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts1.0 cup131
Kale, frozen, unprepared10 oz128
Oranges, raw, with peel1.0 cup119
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, oil roasted, without salt1.0 cup117
Fish, herring, Atlantic, pickled1.0 cup108
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat3.0 oz99
Turnip greens, frozen, unprepared0.5 cup97
Broccoli, frozen, chopped, unprepared1.0 cup87
Tomatoes, red, ripe, canned, stewed1.0 cup87
Peanuts, all types, dry-roasted, without salt1.0 cup85
Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt1.0 cup84
Beans, black turtle, canned1.0 cup84
Okra, frozen, unprepared10 oz77
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, toasted, without salt1.0 cup76

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Nutrient Database


Bone Care for the Postmenopausal Woman. © 2013 International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Gehlbach S. Previous Fractures at Multiple Sites Increase the Risk for Subsequent Fractures: The Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women. J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Mar; 27(3): 645–653.

Cano A, et al. Calcium in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis: EMAS clinical guide. Maturitas. 2018 Jan; 107:7-12.

Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”

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