Salt: the truth behind the flavor

It's no secret that salt is the magical ingredient that adds flavor to any dish. "This tastes bland, better add SALT!"
And over the years we've managed to put salt into many food and beverages to enhance flavor and help preserve freshness. As a result, most people are exceeding their daily sodium intake without even knowing it. The average Canadian’s sodium intake is estimated to be 3,400 mg per day, where as Health Canada recommends for adults 1,500 mg of sodium daily with a maximum limit of 2,300 mg per day.

Zoomer Magazine has passed on some helpful tips to reduce your sodium intake daily:

  • Use less or no salt when preparing meals.
  • Pay attention to product packaging and look for foods labeled sodium-free, no added salt, low sodium, or reduced sodium. For example, PC Blue Menu products have an easy to read (-) symbol in an arrow that indicates lower sodium content or no sodium added.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to choose foods that have less than 120 mg sodium per serving or less than 5% Daily Value (DV).
  • Choose breads, crackers, baked goods, snack foods, canned sauces, soups and dressings with a low sodium count per serving.
  • Talk to a pharmacist. Some grocery stores have even initiated programs for customer consultations. For example, the pharmacists in Loblaw banner grocery stores offer one-on-one guidance for concerns such as heart health, blood pressure and nutrition, including the recommended daily intake of sodium.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Heart Healthy Recipe: Eggplant Cannelloni‏

With heart disease as the leading cause of death and a major cause of disability, it's important to foster a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and high in fiber and good fats such as omega-3s. To further maintain a healthy heart, keep a close eye on calorie consumption and engage in moderate exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more.  
Before we share a delicious heart healthy recipe with you, here are a few nutrition basics from the Heart Association that will help benefit your mind, body and spirit. Make sure to read to the bottom of the recipe where we include a link to a recording of the recent webinar we hosted in conjunction with Cleveland Clinic heart experts!
• Eat nutritious foods from all of the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products and fish.
• Limit foods high in calories but low in nutrients; decrease your consumption of foods high in fat and limit cholesterol, sodium and sugar.
• Try baking, broiling, or grilling lean meats and fish, as these are healthier than frying or sautéing.

Eggplant Cannelloni

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 jars (12 ounces each) roasted red peppers, drained
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 kalamata olives, pitted and minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic until soft, about 1 minute. Reduce heat. Cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppers and juice; bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Cool. Puree in a blender. Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Coat eggplant slices with cooking spray and broil on a baking sheet until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400°F. Mash cheese, olives, capers and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of filling at the end of each eggplant slice; roll up. Lay seam side down in dish. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Top with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
For more heart healthy food tips and other practical information that you can apply in your daily life to achieve healthy longevity, listen to a recording of our February 17th Heart Health 101 Webinar that featured Dr. Steve Nissen and Dr. Marc Gillinov, renowned Cleveland Clinic heart experts and authors ofHeart 411-The Only Guide to Heart Health You'll Ever Need.

Heart Health 101 kicked off the Home Care Assistance Healthy Longevity Webinar Series, an ongoing educational series that will bring experts from a diverse spectrum of health and wellness fields to our clients and the wider community in an engaging and informative format. The webinars are offered free to the public as part of our broader education initiative, through which we will actively provide information and resources around topics related to aging, wellness and quality of life. 
Stay tuned for more details on our next webinar which will be on Caregiver Burnout!

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Keeping your kidneys healthy

Ward off kidney disease

Diabetes and high blood pressure are 2 of the leading causes of kidney disease. If you have diabetes, you can reduce your risk of kidney damage by managing your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, you can help protect your kidneys by getting your blood pressure to a healthy level. There is much you can do to help manage these 2 conditions or, in some cases, to prevent them. By doing so, you'll benefit your overall health - not just your kidney function.

Diabetes and your kidneys

About half of those who have diabetes will develop early signs of kidney damage. Unfortunately, though, early kidney damage has few symptoms, so it's important for people withdiabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney function. It's also important to be aware of the risk of kidney damage so that you can do as much as you can to minimize it.
While you may not be able to completely protect your kidneys from the effects of diabetes, the following steps will help your kidneys stay as healthy as possible:
  • Keep control of your blood sugar levels with the help of your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Ask your doctor about regular urine and blood tests to monitor your kidney function.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly - your doctor can advise you on your target blood pressure and how often to check.
  • Eat a healthy diet - your doctor or dietitian can advise you on the best foods for you to choose or avoid.
  • Try to quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
Your doctor may also recommend that you take a medication called an ACE inhibitor (e.g., lisinopril, enalapril) to help protect your kidneys.

High blood pressure and your kidneys

The complications of high blood pressure are serious. You may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, but did you know that it could also cause kidney damage? If you already have kidney disease, maintaining a healthy control of your blood pressure can help protect your kidneys.
What can you do to help control your blood pressure?
  • Consult your doctor about your "target" blood pressure.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly as recommended by your doctor. Many pharmacies sell blood pressure cuffs that you can easily use at home. If you discover your blood pressure is higher than it should be, speak to your doctor. You may need to adopt some lifestyle changes (see below) or take a medication (or combination of medications) to help lower your blood pressure.
  • Follow a low-fat, low-salt diet (such as the DASH diet).
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Keep a healthy body weight.
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink.
  • Try to quit smoking.

Ward off kidney stones

Passing a kidney stone can be an extremely painful experience. And aside from the pain, kidney stones also pose a risk of kidney damage and urinary tract infection.
One in 10 Canadians will experience a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones are usually made of a substance called calcium oxalate, but the stones may also be made of uric acid or cystine. Once you have developed a stone, your options are:
  • to pass the stone when you urinate
  • to have it surgically removed
  • to have it dissolved with medication
  • to have it broken up through a special procedure using high-energy shock waves (extra-corporeal shock wave lithotripsy or ESWL)
Your best course of treatment will depend on factors such as the type and size of the stone.
What can you do to avoid a kidney stone?
  • Drink plenty of water! Aim for at least 2 L (about 8 glasses) of water daily. If you are exercising, you'll need to drink extra, as your body will lose some fluid through perspiration and therefore this fluid will not pass through your kidneys.
  • Keep a healthy body weight. Recent studies show that weight gain and obesity increase your risk of forming a kidney stone.
  • Consume a diet that has normal dietary amounts of calcium and is low in salt and animal protein.
  • If you've had kidney stones in the past, you may need to avoid or restrict certain foods in your diet (e.g., foods that are high in oxalate such as organ meats or chocolate). Your doctor can advise you on this.
  • If you still develop kidney stones despite dietary and lifestyle changes, you may need to start taking medications as recommended by your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether one of your medications may be increasing your risk of kidney stones.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

CNN: Man Refuses to Retire

Maine's John Calderwood has given up retirement for a real labor of love. WABI reports.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Living to 100 or more may be a matter of the lifestyle choices you make.

From Marian Anne Eure, former Guide Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board

Living to a healthy and happy ripe old age, may not be a matter of genetic predisposition or just dumb luck. A study is published in the June 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry, the monthly scientific journal of the American Psychiatric Association that points to personal choice as being the defining factor in determining a person's longevity.
This study tracked the physical and mental health of 724 men over a 60-year period beginning in 1940. It contrasted the mental and physical health status of 268 Harvard sophomores with that of 456 socially disadvantaged inner-city adolescents. Physical exams were conducted every five years, and psychosocial exams were conducted every two years.

The study identified seven factors that appeared to predict successful aging: moderate alcohol use, no smoking, a stable marriage, exercise, appropriate weight, positive coping mechanisms, and no depressive illness. Depression was the only factor that affected the quality of aging which was beyond individual control.

The researchers found that the health of the inner-city men declined more rapidly than did the health of the Harvard men; their health status at age 65 matched that of the Harvard men at age 75. However, the health of 25 inner-city men who obtained a college education declined at the same rate as the Harvard group. The investigators concluded that education - not money and social prestige - made the difference. Education appeared to give these men the resources they needed to make better lifestyle choices and to therefore maintain health and happiness for a much longer time.

Other studies, not as extensive in their scope have also pointed to higher levels of education and active involvement in a loving family relationship as being the greatest determining factors in longevity.

Life expectancy has been extended in the US for the most part due to the eradication of many infectious diseases, improved early diagnostic technologies and medication advancements. Unfortunately many unwise lifestyle choices have made those extended years more difficult and costly. This translates into more years of expensive medications, assisted living and direct medical costs. These studies have shown that positive lifestyle choices can make these extended years both healthier and healthier.

What does this mean to you and to me for that matter? It means that to a great extent the choices you make now and in the future will determine how long you live and in what state of health. Here are the factors that were found to affect longevity and some strategies for helping to make the right choices for health and happiness. Click on the links to go to the About sites that have lots of great information on making the right lifestyle choices.

Moderate Alcohol Intake1
While several studies over the past few years have shown that moderate alcohol intake may help to protect against heart disease the optimal word is moderate. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver damage, drug interactions and injury. If in doubt avoid alcohol to prevent any drug interactions.

No Smoking
Smoking contributes to heart disease, circulatory problems and can cause emphysema and lung cancer. If you smoke quit!

Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily for most people. The exercise can be as simple as walking, jogging or biking. All exercise programs should include a weight bearing exercise to help keep bones strong.

Appropriate Weight
Obesity is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions. Moderation in food intake is the most sensible way to maintain weight in the ideal range. Overweight can contribute to heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.

Positive Coping Mechanisms
Learning how to control stress and deal with anger and change are also choices one can make to improve quality of life. Disciplines such as Yoga and Meditation are excellent ways to slow down and relax. We live in a stressful world, but we can learn to cope.

Stable Marriage
A good marriage is no accident, it takes work and commitment. Studies have shown that happily married people have less heart disease. If you are having problems in your marriage see a counselor. If the problem lies with sexual dysfunction, see a physician who can diagnose and possibly recommend a treatment. If your spouse has died, try to stay socially active in your church or community. Good friendships can develop and fill in the gaps in one's life.

Depressive Illness
Developing depression is not a lifestyle choice but seeking treatment if it develops and following treatment recommendations is. If you feel blue, with decreased energy or initiative you may be depressed and should seek help from your physician.

Sources:Vaillant,George E., M.D. and Mukamal,Kenneth , M.D. "Successful Aging"; American Journal of Psychiatry8June 2001 158: 839-847

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Climate change and your health

On some days, you look out the window to check the skies for rain or snow. You stretch an arm out an open window to gauge the temperature or turn on the local news to find out the day's high. Day to day, the weather may decide your wardrobe or your route to work. Season to season, you may notice fluctuations from colds and flu to allergies and sunburns. But what about the climate and the overall quality of the weather over time? Can climate change impact your health?

Climate change in a nutshell

People use a lot of energy, and most of the energy we've used over the last century has been created through the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels. The fossil fuels we use - including the gas in our cars and the coal that still heats some homes - release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
CO2 is also produced naturally by the environment and is an essential part of many natural processes, such as plant photosynthesis. CO2 is naturally regulated to keep the amount of it in balance between the atmosphere and the land and the ocean.
However, this CO2 and other greenhouse gases appear to be accumulating and trapping the sun's heat and radiation in the atmosphere. This increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by the change in our climate: air and water temperatures have risen and weather patterns have begun to shift. Basically, we have managed to change the world's climate.

How climate change may affect your health

In the years to come, our world's climate will become warmer and more unpredictable. Climate change and global warming have been acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a threat to human health, especially to those living in the poorest regions of the world.
The heat is on. Climate changes may bring about more frequent heat waves and the health problems that accompany extreme heat: heat stroke, dehydration, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular distress. With hot, dry conditions, some areas of the world may see more droughts and depleted crops, which would contribute to hunger and malnutrition. In urban areas, extreme heat can worsen smog and pollution. Unpredictable shifts in temperature can take people by surprise. The very young, the very old, and the very frail, tend to be most negatively impacted by heat waves.
Rain and its runoff. Inconsistent patterns of rain could result in more frequent catastrophic hurricanes and flooding. Floodwaters can compromise water safety and become breeding grounds and transporters for any number of waterborne illnesses. Floodwaters contaminated with human or animal waste can trigger diarrhea outbreaks due to bacteria, as with cholera, E. coli, and typhoid, or from viruses like hepatitis A.
Bugs spreading bugs. Insects and other animals act asvectors (carriers) of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to people. As the climate grows warmer, mosquitoes, ticks, and other disease vectors spread into new territories and live for longer periods of time than they normally would. With longer lives and wider reach, these vectors have new and more numerous opportunities to transmit infections like malaria, Lyme disease, or dengue fever.
Pollen and other allergens. Climate shifts could also shift the growth patterns of certain plants. This becomes troublesome when those plants are irritants or allergens. Scientists have noted proliferations of stronger, more abundant poison ivy, ragweed, and earlier onset of pollen season.

The climate has changed. Have you?

The climate is the context in which we live, and it's impossible to escape it. It also feels like the kind of thing over which you have little control. While you can't cool a heat wave or pacify a surging hurricane, you can begin to turn the climate tide through your own individual actions.
Be a proactive weather watcher. You can tune in to the weather report for a forecast of the temperature and overall conditions. Will it rain? Do I need a jacket? Warnings and bulletins alert people of pending extreme weather events, like tornadoes, tsunamis, or floods. Additional forecasts and advisories can warn you of various day-to-day fluctuations in atmospheric conditions.
Keep an eye on the barometric pressure and wind velocity, as factors like these can impact your health. Many news forecasts will issue UV warnings to rate the strength of the sun's ultraviolet radiation on a given day. Pollen levels and air quality indexes warn of days with high smog, pollution, or allergen levels. On days with higher warning levels, you would know to take extra precautions to protect your health. Some of these include:
  • wearing sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin from UV radiation
  • staying indoors during days of high smog, especially if you have medical conditions that can be affected by poor air quality (e.g., asthma)
  • drinking lots of water during extreme heat warnings to prevent dehydration
Help those who need it. Those who have limited resources to adapt to climate changes and extreme weather shifts can fall victim to the elements. During extreme weather shifts, remember those in your area who may need extra support: the elderly, the homeless, or the economically challenged. Act on the behalf of their health and safety by making material or financial donations to help provide fans or air conditioning and cooling units during a heat wave, blankets or coats during an intense cold snap, or shelter after a catastrophic storm.
Think globally, act locally. As you move through your days and make choices, the wider world should stay in your thoughts. Even if you live in a big city and work all day in an office, you are part of the natural world. The small decisions you make each day impact everyone else, albeit in gradual, cumulative ways:
  • carry reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags
  • take public transit, carpool, walk, or ride a bike instead of driving your car
  • invest in a safe, reusable water bottle instead of buying single-serving plastic water bottles
  • turn off lights when you don't need them - switch to more efficient appliances, and shut them down when not in use
Amy Toffelmire

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Heart disease: risk factors

In order to function properly, your heart needs a large and continuous stream of oxygen-enriched blood, which is supplied directly to your heart muscle through your coronary arteries. If your coronary arteries become clogged, blocked, inflamed, infected, or injured, the blood flow to your heart will be reduced, which can cause injury to your heart muscle and in turn lead to heart disease or cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some of the more common outcomes of heart disease include myocardial infarction (heart attack), angina (inadequate blood flow to the heart that can cause chest pain), and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

General risk factors for heart disease

Those you can't change:
  • Family history: Genetic predisposition can play a role in the development of heart disease. Your doctor will want to know if you have a family history of heart disease.
  • Age: Wear and tear on your body is cumulative. The heart is no exception. The older you are, the more wear and tear your system will have and the greater the risk of your system not functioning as it did when you were younger.
  • Gender: Women after menopause and men over 55 years old are at greater risk of heart disease.
Those you can change:
  • Smoking: Smoking reduces the blood's oxygen level, injures artery walls, and raises your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • High-fat diet: Diets high in fat, especially saturated fats, increase the risk of fatty buildup in the arteries.
  • High blood cholesterol: Cholesterol is a fatty substance required by your body to make cells. But your body only needs a certain amount. High blood cholesterol can cause arteriosclerosis.
  • Physical inactivity: Regular exercise helps to strengthen your heart muscle and keep it in good working order.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure:Hypertension means your blood is hitting too hard against your artery walls. High blood pressure can increase your risk of stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney damage.
  • Obesity: Being significantly overweight or obese increases your blood pressure, causing your heart to work too hard on less oxygen, and it increases your risk of diabetes.
  • Stress: Stress increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn causes damage to your arteries and heart.
  • Diabetes: Men with diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar) have 3 or 4 times the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis, resulting in angina, heart attacks, strokes, or peripheral vascular disease. Women with diabetes are at an even higher risk - probably 4 times that of non-diabetic women.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team 
Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Grand Travel and Your Bucket List

Friday, February 10, 2012

We all have a bucket list of places to see before we die. In fact, there is a book with a similar title in the travel section of bookstores. If your bucket list includes plans to take your grandchildren, do it sooner rather than later, especially if you’re taking them out of school for the trip.
When my grandsons were four and six, I took them on a trip to Italy. Their parents came too and we all worried at the time about taking them out of school, junior kindergarten and grade one at the time. My sister, a retired teacher, advised taking them. “They’ll learn more on the trip than what they miss in five days of school,” she said. They don’t remember much about the trip, unfortunately, but for me, it was a wonderful memory. And perhaps, subconsciously, they learned something.
After that trip, every time I travelled, my oldest grandson asked if he could “hide in my suitcase” and come along.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken him, because now, at fourteen, he barely acknowledges my existence and certainly wouldn’t be seen in public with me, let alone entertain the prospect of travelling with someone so ‘old.’
We have, unfortunately, a small window of opportunity to take our grandchildren on a vacation that fits in with family schedules and school attendance. And, there are compelling reasons to take them out of school for a trip. Generally, in the off season, which is code for when school is in, rates are cheaper, deals are more appealing and crowds are fewer in the usual tourist haunts. And there’s a benefit too of being away from the din of electronic games and television for both grandparents and kids.
There are other advantages to taking children out of school for a trip, especially if there’s a chance for enrichment. Seeing snow in the Rockies, or viewing The Grand Canyon, the Roman Forum or the Eiffel Tower in 3D is a geography or history lesson itself. With funding cuts in the education system, field trips that take kids on larger-than-life excursions like the ones above are tucked into the past.
Certainly, there are mixed reviews regarding the wisdom of taking children out of school for a vacation. Teachers are the best experts in sanctioning the trip. The child’s usual performance in school is an issue. A conscientious student will catch up; a slack student may have problems. The grade level is another issue. Students in secondary school, while they are the ones who may actually learn from an enrichment trip, have heavier workloads than children in the lower grades of an elementary school. For older grandchildren in secondary school, the decision to take the trip is theirs. They know best how missing school may impact their success. If the child is involved in athletic teams, coaches should be informed of the plans as well.
It’s important that the child’s parents give the teacher advance notice of the planned trip and arrange for any homework that should be completed during the trip so the child doesn’t fall behind. Often the time of year is critical in the education system and finding out whether there are important tests your grandchild will miss is critical to planning the trip around an appropriate time.
There should be, if necessary, time allotted on the vacation for doing homework. Perhaps math problems can be solved on the plane or spelling tests given before heading out for a day of sightseeing.
When possible, plan the trip over a time period that coincides with a holiday such as Easter or a professional development day so that fewer ‘school days’ are missed.
The child may benefit even more, besides enjoying the company of a grandparent, from a trip that has some educational value, especially if the destination is a place the child is currently learning about in history or geography.
To sweeten the deal, buy a souvenir gift for your grandchild to bring home to her teacher.
-Bonnie Baker Cowan 

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Do you get enough calcium?

A total of 1.4 million Canadians or 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis refers to bone loss that causes "thinning" or weakening of the bones. Because bone loss occurs without symptoms, osteoporosis often goes unrecognized for many years until one or several fractures occur. Since bones are made primarily of calcium, eating calcium-rich foods helps keep bones strong. At the same time, it helps the heart, blood, and muscles work properly.

Other factors also affect bone strength, such as genetics, amount of weight-bearing exercise, and exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is necessary because it affects the level of vitamin D in the body, which helps the absorption of calcium.
Since the body can't make calcium, we have to get it from the food we eat.

Getting the most calcium from your food

The amount of calcium you absorb from the foods you eat depends not only on how much calcium is in the food, but on how easily it's absorbed (bioavailability), the amount of calcium already stored in your body, and what you eat with the calcium-rich food.
Many researchers say that the best bet for getting calcium is to eat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese because they are high in calcium, and the type of calcium they contain is easily absorbed by the body.
Foods which contain oxalates or phytates, however, interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium.
High-oxylate foods
  • Fruits:
    • blackberries
    • blueberries
    • citrus peel
    • Concord grapes
    • Damson plums
    • gooseberries
    • raspberries
    • red currants
    • rhubarb
    • strawberries
  • Vegetables:
    • amaranth
    • beet leaves
    • cassava
    • collards
    • leeks
    • okra
    • parsley
    • purslane
    • spinach
    • sweet potatoes
    • Swiss chard
  • Beverages:
    • beer
    • berry juices
    • coffee
    • cola
    • Ovaltine®
    • tea
  • Other foods:
    • almonds
    • chocolate
    • cocoa
    • peanuts
    • peanut butter
    • pecans
    • poppy seeds
High-phytate foods
  • barley
  • beans
  • bran and wheat cereals
  • corn chips
  • nuts
  • oats
  • rice
  • rye bread
  • sesame seeds
  • soybean meal
  • wheat bran
  • wheat germ
For example, ½ cup of cooked spinach has 122 mg of calcium, but the bioavailability of that calcium is close to zero because spinach is high in oxalates. If you rely on vegetables as your source of calcium, you should choose low-oxalate vegetables more often, such as kale, broccoli, bok choy, mustard and turnip greens.

How much calcium do you need?

Unfortunately, North American men and women aren't getting enough calcium.
In order to keep your bones healthy, get enough calcium every day and choose low-oxalate, low-phytate fruits and vegetables.
Recommended calcium
Age (years)Intake per day
1 to 3 500 mg
4 to 8 800 mg
9 to 18 1,300 mg
19 to 50 1,000 mg
Over 511,200 mg
During pregnancy and lactation, recommend calcium changes:
Age (years)Intake per day
under 191,300 mg
over 191,000 mg
The US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine can provide more info on recommended intakes.

Calcium rich foods

The following chart lists the amount of calcium found in many common foods.
*add 100 mg for each portion of calcium-enriched milk or yogurt

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical T 
Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

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