As I stare into my 104-year-old grandma’s freezer, a few things look bleakly back at me. I see a tin of old Christmas cookies, circa 1999, a box of baking soda, something that I do not want to investigate wrapped in aluminum foil, and three gallons of milk. (Although now through some research, I realize that lots of folks freeze their milk. I had just never heard of it until I saw it in my grandma’s freezer. I am not a milk drinker.)
Now, while the crux of this article is not about the proper storage of milk, I did want to point out that the revelation in that freezer begged me to ask the question of my grandmother, “Are you getting enough calcium?” To which she replied, “Well, I don’t like milk, so I have to take my doctor-recommended supplements.”
Hmmmm…she does not like milk but has a few gallons frozen in the freezer. She explained this one by noting that some folks give her the milk and she hates to decline, so she puts it in the freezer to provide for guests in the future.
“Grandma,” I said. “Did you know that the expiration dates on these milk jugs are from over three years ago? It is not a good idea to freeze milk over three months.”
She did not care. She freezes everything, including money! The whole issue of her strong dislike of milk, which eerily parallels mine, led me to inquire how we can get enough calcium (and vitamin D!) to contribute to our bone health.
Calcium is necessary to ensure that our bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. It also assists muscles and nerves to work properly. Calcium truly is a hard-working mineral, as it can also help with weight management, blood pressure, and may even play a role in preventing colon cancer. Vitamin D takes the stage with calcium to help you absorb and effectively use the calcium.
The recommended daily calcium intake for individuals between the ages of 1 and 50 is 1000 milligrams per day. If you are over 50, you need to bump that up to 1200 mg per day. For vitamin D, up to 50 years of age, you need 200 International Units per day. From ages 51-70, you need 400 IU per day. After age 70, that goes up to 600 IU per day.