Why calcium is important if you have arthritis

October 9, 2015

It's important for everyone to get good nutrition, but this element of your diet can be extra helpful if you're living with arthritis. Proper nutrition is particularly useful for people with arthritis because some nutrients can help ease arthritis symptoms and slow its progress. Calcium is one of these helpful nutrients, and here's what you need to know about how it's helpful.

Why calcium is important if you have arthritis

The benefits of calcium

The issue that calcium, as well as vitamin D, helps the most with is bone health.

Calcium has obvious importance to bones — more than 90 percent of the body's stores are contained in the skeleton and teeth. Getting too little calcium raises the risk of osteoporosis, a brittle-bone condition that accelerates if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

Drink milk and cook with milk

You probably know that milk is a prime calcium source — but the same is true even for cooked foods made with milk. So consider having pancakes or waffles (one large waffle may contain as much as 12 percent of your daily calcium requirement) at breakfast or lunch.

For other meals, balance your diet with low-fat cheese as a topping for savoury fare such as chili or spaghetti.

Down it with vitamin D

One reason vitamin D is so important to bone health is that it boosts the body's absorption of calcium — another reason to consume more D-fortified dairy, which contains both nutrients.

Go beyond the dairy case

Milk and milk products aren't the only sources of calcium: It's also found in vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and turnip greens. These foods have less calcium than dairy products, but contain a form that's easier for the body to absorb.

Other non-dairy calcium sources include omega-3-rich fish that have edible bones, such as salmon and sardines.

Put these tips for working more calcium into your diet into practice to strengthen your bones and, if you have it, to keep your arthritis from weakening them.

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