6 surprising health benefits of calcium

You may have heard that calcium keeps your bones strong, but did you know that it boasts many other benefits as well? Here's how calcium keeps you healthy
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It can help you lose weight - 6 surprising health benefits of calcium Adapted from Food Cures, Reader's Digest; Images: Thinkstock

It can help you lose weight

Here's a reason to drink milk your mom didn't know: It may help you lose weight. Purdue University researchers found that people who got 1,300 to 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day from dairy products had less body fat after 18 months. And researchers at the University of Tennessee have found much the same thing.

Calcium, it turns out, may play a part in how fat is broken down and stored. The more calcium in a fat cell, the more fat it burns. In a study of obese adults, one group ate three 175-gram (6-ounce) servings of fat-free yogurt containing 1,100 milligrams of calcium per day. The other group ate one serving of dairy food containing 400 to 500 milligrams of calcium per day. Both groups also reduced their daily calories by 500. The yogurt group lost an average of more than 6.3 kilograms (14 pounds) compared to an average loss of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) in the low-calcium group. The yogurt group also lost 81 percent more fat from their stomachs. Although studies have found low-fat dairy foods most effective, calcium from other sources, like broccoli or fortified orange juice, works, too.

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