Calcium is a vital nutrient in our diets which many of us forget. In every way, almost every cell in the body requires calcium, including the nervous system, the muscles, and the heart. Your body uses calcium to create healthy bones and teeth, keep them solid when you age, transmit signals through your nervous system, strengthen your blood clot, contract your muscles and control the rhythm of your heart. Around 99 percent of the calcium in the bones and teeth is retained in the bloodstream. The remaining 1 percent in the blood, skin, and other tissues.
For calcium to be consumed the body requires vitamin D. This suggests that if you’re short on vitamin D, you won’t completely benefit from a calcium-rich diet. Some foods, such as salmon, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms, will give you vitamin D. Few nutritional items have added vitamin D to them, as has calcium. Milk, for example, has always added vitamin D to it. Sunshine is your very best vitamin D source. Once exposed to the sun the skin automatically contains vitamin D. People with darker skin often don’t produce vitamin D, so supplements may be required to prevent deficiencies.
Food Sources of Calcium
Beans and Lentils – The beans are highly nutritious. One cup of cooked wing beans (172 grams) supplies 24 percent of the RDI for calcium, while other varieties supply about 4–13 percent for the same serving amount.
Yogurt – Yogurt is a great source of calcium. Many yogurt styles are also rich in live probiotic bacteria which have different health benefits. One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt contains 30 percent calcium RDI as well as phosphate, potassium, and B2 and B12 vitamins. Low-fat yogurt in calcium can be much better, with 45 percent of RDI in one cup (245 grams).
Cheese – Most cheeses make excellent calcium sources. Parmesan cheese has the most, at 331 mg per ounce (28 grams) — or 33 percent of the RDI (5). Softer cheeses tend to contain less — one ounce of brie offers just 52 mg or 5% of RDI. In the center, several other varieties break, providing around 20 percent of the RD. While high in fat and calories, cheese can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Almonds – Almonds can have 3 grams (28 grams) of fiber per ounce, as well as good fats and protein. Almonds have a high nutritional content, such as good fats, calcium, magnesium, and others. One ounce, or 22 nuts, contains calcium for 8 percent of the RDI.
Dark leafy greens – Many cool, leafy greens have a high calcium content. One cup of cooked collard greens (190 grams) provides 25 percent of your daily needs. Some leafy greens, however, contain oxalates which make your body unavailable for some calcium.
Tofu and Edamame – Tofu and edamame are both rich in calcium. Just half a cup (126 grams) of tofu prepared with calcium has 86% of the RDI, while one cup (155 grams) of edamame packs 10%.
Milk – Milk is a perfect source of calcium and is well absorbed. One cup (237 ml) of milk supplies 27–35 percent of RDI. One cup (237 ml) of cow’s milk contains 276–352 mg depending on whether the milk is whole or non-fat. Goat’s milk provides 327 mg per cup (237 ml). The milk is also a healthy source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.
Seeds –Many seeds are healthy Calcium sources. For eg, 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of poppy seeds has 13 percent of the RDI, while 9 percent of the RDI packs the same serving of sesame seeds.
Salmon – Thanks to their nutritious bones, the sardines, and canned salmon are filled with calcium. A 3.75 ounce (92 grams) of sardines will contain 35% of the RDI and 3 ounces (85 grams) of bone canned salmon have 21%. These oily fish also provide high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are healthy for your brain and skin.
Rhubarb – The calcium rhubarb numbers are relatively high. And even though you just consume 25 percent, you still get 87 mg of cooked rhubarb per cup (240 grams). Rhubarb is high in protein, vitamin K and other nutrients. Calcium can not be completely consumed, but the numbers are high enough to get enough even.
Benefits of Calcium
Osteoporosis and Growing Healthy Bones
During cycles of puberty and adolescence, bones grow in size and density, reaching peak bone mass at about age 30. Bone is a living substance in continuous motion. Bones are continuously being torn down and patched up during the lifetime, in a cycle known as remodeling. Bone cells called osteoblasts build bone, while other bone cells called osteoclasts break down bone when calcium is necessary.
Osteoporosis, or “porous bones,” is bone weakness caused by an inconsistency in bone development and bone degradation. People usually lose their bone when they age, despite receiving the necessary calcium intake required to maintain optimum bone strength.
A significant pillar for the future is ensuring sufficient calcium consumption and optimizing bone reserves during the period that bone is rapidly deposited (up to age 300).
Calcium has been suggested to help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by reducing lipid intestinal absorption, increasing lipid excretion, lowering blood cholesterol levels, and facilitating the delivery of calcium to cells.
Calcium plays a vital function in clotting the blood. The clotting mechanism is complicated, and it has many phases. Which contains a number of chemical elements like calcium. The role of calcium in muscle function involves the maintenance of heart muscle activity. Calcium loosens the smooth tissue covering the blood vessels. Numerous research revealed a potential link between high calcium intake and lower blood pressure.
Hypertension and Blood Pressure
Several clinical trials have demonstrated a link between higher intakes of calcium and both reduced blood pressure and hypertension risk, although the decreases are variable. In the Women’s Health Report, calcium consumption in middle-aged and older people was inversely correlated with the risk of hypertension.
Calcium tends to control contracting muscles. As a nerve activates a muscle, calcium is absorbed into the bloodstream. The calcium helps the muscle proteins do contraction work. As the calcium is drained out of the muscle by the body the muscle can relax.
Other benefits are :
- During pregnancy, calcium supplementation decreases the risk of preeclampsia, but the effects will only extend to communities with low calcium intake.
- Studies show a favorable correlation between supplementary calcium intake and kidney stone risk, and these results have been used as the basis for calcium UL determination in adults.
- Sufficient Calcium consumption lower chance of colorectal adenomas, a type of non-cancerous tumor.
Daily Requirement of Calcium
The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the National Academies Institute of Medicine, offer intake guidelines for calcium and other nutrients.
|Newborn to 6 months||200 mg/day||200 mg/day|
|6 to 12 months||260 mg/day||260 mg/day|
|1 to 3 years||700 mg/day||700 mg/day|
|4-8 years||1,000 mg/day||1,000 mg/day|
|9 to 18 years||1,300 mg/day||1,300 mg/day|
|19 to 50 years||1,000 mg/day||1,000 mg/day|
|51 to 70 years||1,000 mg/day||1,200 mg/day|
|71+ years||1,000 mg/day||1,000 mg/day|
|Source: National Institutes of Heal|
Depending on age, pregnant and breastfeeding women can take between 1,000–1,300 mg.
A doctor may prescribe extra calcium for people who, having begun menopause, avoid menstruating because of anorexia nervosa or heavy exercise, have lactose intolerance or allergy to cow’s milk, adopt a vegan diet.
Deficiency of Calcium
Inadequate dietary calcium sources from foods and nutrients in the short term cause no visible effects. The following disorders or lifestyle patterns will contribute to low levels of calcium also known as hypokalemia:
- A lack of parathyroid hormone.
- Overconsumption of magnesium.
- Anorexia, bulimia, and several other eating disorders.
- Few surgical operations, including abdominal evacuation.
- Kidney Failure.
- Big amounts of caffeine, sugar, or alcohol.
- Mercury exposure
Hypocalcemia signs include finger numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, decreased appetite, and irregular heart rhythms.
Inadequate consumption of calcium in the long term induces osteopenia and may contribute to osteoporosis if unchecked. The risk of bone fractures is also growing, especially in older people. Calcium deficiency can also cause rickets, but it is most generally associated with a deficit in vitamin D.
Risk of Overdose of Calcium
Excessively elevated calcium levels in the blood known as hypercalcemia can induce renal insufficiency, calcification of the vein and soft tissue, hypercalciuria (high levels of calcium in the urine), and kidney stones. While extremely high intakes of calcium can induce hypercalcemia, it is most frequently associated with primary hyperparathyroidism or malignancy.
High intakes of calcium can contribute to constipation. It can also interact with iron and zinc absorption although this effect is not well known.
High calcium consumption from drugs but not from foods is associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.
Some data ties higher calcium intake with increased risk of prostate cancer, but this association is not well known, partially because the possible effects of dairy products are difficult to be isolated from calcium.
Calcium is important for the development and preservation of healthy bones and teeth. It can also help to control blood pressure, among other functions.
Experts do not prescribe calcium supplements for all, due to human need variations. Anyone who is considering taking supplements should get recommendations from their health care provider.