Calcium is a vital mineral that provides structural strength to bones (and teeth). It also helps with various bodily functions, such as blood clotting and muscle contracting. But our bodies don't produce calcium, and the mineral is constantly being lost through our skin, nails, sweat, urine and feces. If these calcium stores aren't replenished, the body starts taking the calcium it needs from bones.
"It's recommended that you get about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day, which ideally should come from your diet," says Dr. Michael Lewiecki of the New Mexico Clinical Research & Osteoporosis Center. There are a number of foods that can provide you with calcium, including dairy, sardines, salmon and various green vegetables, such as collard greens, kale, and broccoli, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Additionally, various products are now fortified with calcium, including oatmeal, cereal, orange juice, and soymilk, says Dr. Lewiecki.