THE TRUTH ABOUT CALCIUM AND MENOPAUSE
Calcium intake and the menopause. Here's what you need to know, as verified by Nutritionist Matthew Jones.
Why is calcium so important from perimenopause onwards?
Oestrogen plays a crucial role in bone health by helping to maintain bone density. As oestrogen levels decrease during perimenopause and menopause, women become more susceptible to bone loss, osteoporosis, and fractures.
Calcium is a vital mineral for bone health as it is a major component of bone tissue. Adequate calcium intake, in conjunction with other nutrients like Vitamin D and K, and Magnesium, becomes particularly important during perimenopause and beyond to support bone strength and density, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
How much calcium do I need?
The recommended daily intake for women in this stage is approximately 1000-1200 milligrams per day.
In a day that could mean eating:
2 slices of rye bread or whole grain bread
2 slices of gouda, edam or emmental cheese
1 serving of broccoli,
2 glasses of mineral water, and
1 pot of yoghurt (200 g)
Where should I get my calcium?
The majority of your calcium intake should come from dairy, unless you are a vegan, in which case fortified plant-based milks and yoghurts work too. Dairy products provide dietary calcium with the highest bioavailability of all foods, that means more of the calcium you consume is actually absorbed and thus available to the body. Perhaps consider including low fat dairy sources such as milk, yoghurt, quark or kefir, and small quantities of cheese into your daily diet. Dairy is also rich in protein which is important for women of this age group. Although vegetables such as spinach and broccoli provide calcium, they also contain natural compounds called oxalates and phytates, which make it harder for the body to absorb calcium and other minerals. Aim for a mix of mainly dairy and follow with fortified foods and plant sources.
Matthew Jones, Sports Nutritionist
Matt Jones is a sports nutritionist currently consulting in the English Premier League with West Ham United FC, in the Women’s Super League with Chelsea FC Women and with the Men’s Scottish National Team. Matt has a Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and is registered with the British Dietetic Association, Sport Nutrition Register.