The next time you pass by your favorite ice cream store, stop in for a scoop or two: your body may thank you later.
During a woman’s teenage years, she fully develops and strengthens her bones before reaching adulthood. In this crucial period, she stores the calcium in her bones that she will need later in life. However, if a woman does not obtain enough calcium during this time, her body steals this essential mineral from her bones, weakening them. The disease that results, osteoporosis, currently afflicts over 40 million Americans and results in brittle bones and an increased likelihood of bone fractures in later years.
According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, only twelve percent of female adolescents receive enough calcium on a daily basis to prevent osteoporosis. High school students should receive around 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day, which equals to four eight-ounce cups of milk.
However, there are other ways to increase your dairy intake if you are not a milk fan. Try a cup of yogurt, which has as much calcium as a glass of milk, or add a slice of cheese to your sandwich. Want to warm up on a cold day? Sip some hot cocoa with warm milk in lieu of water–not only will this add calcium to your diet, but it takes better, too. Drink calcium-fortified juices in the morning. And of course, have a scoop of ice cream at your local parlour.
Do you receive enough calcium daily? Take this quiz to find out:
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