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Calcium good for babies - and their mothers.

CALCIUM GOOD FOR BABIESAND THEIR MOTHERS

Most of us upon reaching adulthood have given up milk in favor of more stimulating and less caloric beverages. Except for pregnant women, the role of calcium in the diet has not generally been given high priority. Some recent studies, however, seem to confirm what scientists have theorized about for years-the relationship of calcium intake to blood pressure.

A recent report on pregnancy in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that calcium does more than build fetal bones. Women who took calcium supplements reduced their risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. The effect of blood pressure may also extend to their offspring. The babies of mothers whose diets during pregnancy were rich in calcium-containing foods-as well as foods that contain magnesium and potassium-had lower blood pressure readings throughout their first year of life.

Another report, from Boston University, showed calcium's favorable effect on the blood pressure of young children. The study involved some 80 children ages 3-to-5 whose diets were carefully monitored. Those who consumed the most calcium had the lowest blood pressure. The researchers found that a diet of 100 milligrams calcium per 1,000 calories produced an average decrease of 2 millimeters in systolic blood pressure. Moreover, increasing the ratio of calcium to calories produced a proportionally further drop in blood pressure.

Admittedly, these reports are not conclusive in their recommendations for all pregnant women or all young children who take calcium supplements. They do, however, recommend that everyone's diet include at least three daily servings of high-calcium foods. Besides milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, these include such green vegetables as broccoli, kale, and turnip greens; also canned salmon and sardines, which have the bones in.
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Title Annotation:calcium intake and high blood pressure
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Words:287
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