Importance of Calcium in Human Body- Best Calcium Sources
The body needs calcium to perform many important functions, including muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and blood clotting. It’s also important for fluid balance in the body. Increasing calcium intake is particularly important during periods of growth, such as puberty and adolescence. However, calcium deficiency can cause bone fragility and osteoporosis. Fortunately, many calcium-fortified foods and beverages are available.
Why is Calcium necessary for our Body?
While most people associate calcium with healthy bones and teeth, it has a much more broad role in the body. It is responsible for blood clotting, regulates muscle contraction, and helps the heart and nerves function properly. It is also a critical part of bone and tooth health, helping teeth stay strong and dense and releasing important hormones and enzymes. Almost 99% of calcium in the body is found in bone and teeth. A few percent is found in the blood and muscle.
The amount of calcium that our bodies can absorb depends on dietary sources. A diet rich in dairy products has a 30% bioavailability, which means that the body will only absorb about half of that amount. A diet high in leafy greens and beans has a higher bioavailability of calcium. Calcium supplements are also a great source of calcium. You can even find fortified tofu with up to 500 mg of calcium per serving!
How much Calcium Do we need in a day?
The recommended dietary allowance of calcium increases throughout the lifespan, with adults needing at least 1,000 milligrams per day. However, certain demographics need higher intakes of calcium, such as women after menopause. Elderly people are also at increased risk of losing bone than younger adults. Therefore, calcium supplements should be considered when the body needs more calcium. Calcium supplements should be taken only when your diet does not supply the necessary amount of calcium. Calcium supplementation should not be an alternative to a healthy diet.
Best Sources of Calcium
While milk and dairy products are the most important sources of calcium, other sources of calcium are plentiful. For children, whole milk is recommended, while for adults, low-fat milk is best. However, removing the fat in dairy products does not lower the calcium content. Some dairy products that are good sources of calcium include yogurt, buttermilk, and most cheeses. Furthermore, milk is an excellent source of magnesium, which helps the body absorb the calcium in food.
Are Calcium Supplements good for health?
Some studies suggest that taking calcium supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a serious complication of late pregnancy. High blood pressure and protein in the urine are common symptoms of preeclampsia. Calcium supplementation may reduce the risk of this condition. But more research is needed to determine whether calcium can reduce or prevent weight gain during pregnancy. However, experts recommend that pregnant women take calcium supplements. The best way to get the most calcium is through the diet.
Despite the positive effects of calcium on the body, it is important to limit the intake of dairy products. Consuming too much can lead to kidney stones and other medical problems. Excess calcium can affect the heart and brain and may weaken bones. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. It also contains good amounts of protein and is low-calorie. Calcium is one of the most important minerals for healthy bones. But there are some risks associated with excessive intake of dairy products.