Senior citizen men and women may benefit by adding more foods with calcium or taking nutritional supplements of the mineral, according to a new study.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland analyzed date from 293,908 men and 198,903 women who participated in a past study that examined their calcium intake.
Men with the highest intake had a 16 percent reduced risk of developing digestive system cancers.
For women, the number was higher at 23 percent.
Women were also found to be at a reduced risk for all other types of cancers when they had a higher calcium intake. This was especially true for colorectal cancer, according to the authors of the study.
"Dairy food, which is relatively high in potentially anticarcinogenic nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid, has been postulated to protect against the development of colorectal and breast cancer," the authors wrote.
Because of its known benefits for bone health, the Institute of Medicine recommends adults aged 50 and older take 1,200 mg of the mineral each day.