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Health Tip: The Importance of Calcium

It's crucial to get enough at a young age

(HealthDay News) -- Calcium is a necessary mineral to build and preserve strong bones, strong and healthy teeth, and healthy muscles and tissues.

Plenty of calcium at a young age -- particularly in adolescence -- is very important to protecting bones later in life and preventing osteoporosis.

Bone mass continues to grow until about age 30 or 35. Calcium in milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products will help build bone mass. The mineral can also be found in leafy green vegetables, dried beans and fruits, and nuts like almonds.

Because the cells in bones are constantly being destroyed and reproduced, the body needs to take in more calcium than what it processes. If enough calcium isn't consumed, more bone tissue is destroyed than is created and bones are weakened.

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends about 550 milligrams of calcium per day, but that quantity can vary by age. The recommendation is 1000 milligrams a day for people between the ages of 19-50, and 1,200 milligrams a day for people aged 50 and older.

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