How does calcium affect my blood pressure?
Calcium helps keep the smooth muscles that line your blood vessels toned. Some studies show that people who get enough calcium in their diets tend to have lower rates of high blood pressure. An added bonus of getting enough calcium in your diet is that it can also help protect you against osteoporosis. This condition causes thinning bones. If you are a woman who has gone through menopause, you are especially susceptible to this condition.
How Much Calcium Do I Need?
The best way to get enough calcium is by eating calcium-rich foods. Most adults need 1,000 mg. You can get this amount each day by doing either one of the following:
- drinking two 8-ounce glasses of nonfat or low-fat milk
- eating either ½ cup of shredded part-skim cheese or 2 ounces of most part-skim hard cheeses
If you are older than 50, you should increase your calcium intake to 1,200 mg.
Include these delicious, calcium-rich foods in your meal plan:
- calcium-fortified food products, such as some brands of orange juice and breakfast cereals
- low-fat or nonfat dairy products, such as low-fat or nontfat milk, yogurt, and cheese
- lactose-free dairy products, if you are lactose intolerant
- certain leafy greens, such as kale and bok choy
Should I Take Calcium Supplements?
Research results do not support taking calcium supplements for the purpose of lowering blood pressure.
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