In short, the answer is, “Very Important!” You’ve heard about the menopause symptoms that many women deal with: hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and anxiety. But did you know that during menopause, loss of bone density is a common occurrence? If you feel you may be reaching menopause, see your doctor for an evaluation.  Calcium rich foods can directly affect your bone health and are essential tools that prepare your body for the changes associated with menopause. If you haven’t yet reached menopause, now is a great time to take a look at your calcium intake.

You should have about 1200mg of calcium per day and there are plenty of foods that contain calcium naturally. Vitamin D is important too because it helps your body absorb the calcium. So as you start researching calcium rich foods, keep Vitamin D in mind too. You can certainly supplement Vitamin D if need be. The healthier your bones are before menopause, the better they’ll be for many, many, years after menopause. It’s also worth mentioning Kuhl Care, a menopause treatment formula that includes Vitamin D, calcium, and many of the other vitamins and minerals that are key to preventing both short and long-term symptoms of menopause.

So what foods have calcium in them? Milk is a great source of calcium and Vitamin D, but some folks don’t like to drink milk. You can add low-fat milk to oatmeal and whole grain cereal. Yogurts and cheeses are excellent sources of calcium.  If you really can’t stand milk, then try yogurt and granola for breakfast. Fresh fruit and yogurt makes a healthy snack – and for women who are experiencing menopause symptoms, these foods can be refreshing after hot flashes or night sweats. Cheese is a very versatile food. You can try other calcium fortified products like soy milk, Blue Diamond almond milk or orange juice. Just make sure the label says, “Calcium Fortified.”

In addition, there are plenty of foods that contain calcium like broccoli, kale and almonds. A quick search online will give you a whole host of calcium rich foods you can work into your diet before you reach menopause. Bone health is extremely important and becomes harder to manage when you reach menopause. Including calcium in your diet now will help you keep your bones healthy when you do reach this life change.