Calcium - Uses, Benefits, Sources and Dosage
Calcium is one of the most plentiful minerals that is found in our body. Most of the calcium is present in the bones and teeth. The rest of the calcium is found in the nerve cells, blood, body tissues and other body fluid.
Importance of Calcium
Calcium is an important mineral that is essential for the normal functioning of the human body. It helps form teeth and bones and keep them healthy. Even if this mineral is taken in a proper amount, it can help prevent osteoporosis.
The main functions of the Calcium are listed below:
- It helps Build strong bones and teeth.
- It helps in the clotting of blood.
- It speeds up the process of sending and receiving nerve signals.
- It also helps in squeezing and relaxing of muscles.
- It helps in releasing hormones and other chemicals as well.
- It is also a great way to keep a normal heartbeat.
Great food Sources of Calcium
Dairy products are the great sources of calcium. Milk is the best one. Other dairy products for calcium include yogurt, cheeses, buttermilk and these are easy to digest.
Whole milk is another calcium rich food that is highly recommended for children who are under 2 years. While the low-fat drink is recommended for children who are above 2 years as well as for adults. Skim milk is a great low fat drink. The Removal of fat from the milk will not lessen the amount of calcium in that dairy product.
Milk not only contains calcium in it, but a great source of phosphorus and magnesium too. These minerals help the body to absorb calcium easily. And another vitamin which is required for the easy absorption of the calcium is vitamin D. That is the main reason why the milk is often fortified with this vitamin.
Other Sources of Calcium
Green leafy vegetables are also the best sources of calcium. The leafy vegetables include mustard greens, kale, broccoli, collards, turnip greens and Chinese cabbage.
Some other sources of calcium, other than dairy products and vegetables, include the following:
- Salmon and sardines.
- Nuts including Almonds, Brazil nuts, tahini, dried beans, and sunflower seeds are also rich in calcium.
- Blackstrap molasses is another calcium rich food.
Calcium can also be also added to some food products such as, soy milk, ready-to-eat cereals, orange juice, tofu, and breads. These are great for those who do not eat calcium rich dairy foods and are on a vegan diet.
Taking calcium rich diet is easy, but its absorption is equally important. Here are some ways to absorb calcium easily.
We should always cook calcium rich food in a small amount of water for the shortest possible time in order to keep the content of calcium healthy.
While eating calcium rich foods, we should be careful of what we are eating along with it. Foods such as wheat bran or other certain fibers and foods with spinach or rhubarb can bind with calcium rich foods and interferes with its absorption.
So we should avoid these foods while taking calcium rich foods.