Q: I am a 45-year old woman entering menopause. What foods should I include in my diet to increase my calcium intake?
A: After the age of 40, there is tendency in woman to lose calcium which can lead to problems like arthritis and osteoporosis. Thus, the requirement increases from the normal 1200 mg to 1500 mg after menopause. This loss of calcium can be compensated by including calcium-rich foods in your diet.
Sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, ragi [nachni] in the form of porridge, chapatti, meat, canned fish, paneer, soy, tapioca, fenugreek, amaranth and drumstick leaves. It is also important to get enough Vitamin D as it enhances the absorption of calcium [Sources: sunlight, fatty fishes like salmon].
If you are lactose intolerant, then opt for soy milk or soy paneer [tofu]. Also, it is recommended that you start taking a calcium supplement after consultating