Calcium is one of the most important minerals necessary for proper body functions. Nearly 99% of calcium is stored in our teeth and bone and the rest of it helps in proper muscle movement and cardiovascular functions. It is present in high quantities in our bodies. It is really necessary for maintaining communication between other body parts and the brain.
The deficiency of calcium can lead to many severe health problems like – Muscle Cramps, Osteoporosis, Rickets, etc. You can increase the intake of calcium by including green leafy vegetables, dairy products, citrus fruits, and water in your diet.
The quantity of calcium decrease as age increase; it is released through sweat, skin cells, and waste from our body. The absorption of calcium varies depending on gender and age. It is really essential for maintaining good health.
What are Calcium-rich Foods? – Foods rich in Calcium
You can add the following food items to meet your daily requirement of calcium-
Fortified Dairy products
Bread and anything made with fortified flour
Fish where you eat the bones – such as sardines and pilchards
Green leafy vegetables – such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, and okra
Fortified cereals, etc.
Soya drinks with added calcium
Why do I need to take Calcium? – Health benefits of Calcium
You can’t miss including Calcium or Calcium-rich foods in your diet. And, here are the reasons – Why you shouldn’t?
1. To maintain Bone Health:
Proper calcium intake is really important for the growth and maintenance of our bones. As the person grows, it is necessary to maintain bone density and for the proper functioning of other body parts. The intake of calcium in pregnant women can affect the bones of unborn babies, which can also lead to long-term effects.
The bone density in women remains the same until 30-40 years. But after 40 years the bone density can reduce by 0.5-1.0% per year. The appropriate consumption of calcium after menopause improves the strength of bones.
The deficiency of calcium can lead to a disease known as osteoporosis, which occurs when the body loses too much calcium, and bones become fragile and porous. The proper intake of calcium prevents fractures in people suffering from osteoporosis.
2. Improve Muscle contraction:
Calcium reacts with the proteins that carry out the work of muscle contractions. The calcium ions are released when muscle stimulates and enables muscle contraction. This release of calcium makes the muscles relaxed. It also helps in communication between the brain and muscles.
3. Linked to PMS symptoms:
Consuming an adequate amount of calcium daily can lower the symptoms of PMS. It reduces bloating, affects mood swings, pain, and cravings. It also lowers the risk of PMS by almost 30% in women who have about 1200 mg of calcium daily.
4. Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer:
A high intake of calcium is linked with a reduced risk of colon cancer. The studies have shown that the people who have about 1250 mg of calcium per day have 35% less risk of developing colon risk than those who don’t.
But, calcium cannot work solely for the prevention of colon cancer because there are many other reasons that lead to an increased risk of colon cancer.
5. Lower Blood Pressure:
Calcium reduces the risk of hypertension. It reduces blood pressure by a very small unit in people with high blood pressure and even others. Calcium is beneficial for people who have salt sensitivity and have irregular blood pressure.
It is also advised for pregnant women to have calcium supplements daily to regulate their blood pressure. It even affects the blood pressure of the unborn baby.
6. Weight Loss:
Calcium can help in reducing weight and also reduce the risk of obesity. But, it only works when your calories are restricted or when you eat within the limit.
Calcium also boosts metabolism which increases the fat burning rate. It is also noticed that a calciumdeficit can lead to weight gain.
7. Good for heart:
Appropriate intake of calcium is really important to maintain a healthy heart. It maintains the working of heart muscle cells and plays a very important role in blood clotting along with other chemicals. It relaxes the smooth muscles that surround arteries. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Other several health benefits are linked with calcium intake as –
It improves blood cholesterol levels
Prevent tooth loss
Maintain phosphate level in people with kidney failure
And many more…
How much Calcium do I need? – Required Daily Intake
For Babies, Kids & Teens:
The daily intake for children of up to 1 year should be almost 200-260 mg and for children between 1 to 8 years the intake should increase to 700-1000mg. The teens require almost 1300mg of calcium per day.
For Adult Men & Women:
The adult males should have about 100o mg per day and women, especially, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should increase their intake up to 1300 mg. The intake of high sodium can lead to increased excretion of calcium, in that case, you should increase your calcium intake by around 200-300mg.
What happens if I take too much Calcium? Side effects of Calcium:
The calcium tolerance in children can be increased to 3000 mg per day and in adults up to 2500 mg per day. The excessive intake of calcium can lead to bloating, constipation, and even some serious health issues.
It can lead to kidney stones and kidney failures. It could lead to a milk-alkali syndrome which is caused because of the high presence of calcium in our body – it produces acid in our body.
In modern times, when we are so busy living a fast-paced life, that many times, we forget to focus on our own health and diet.
IFORHER’s Vitamins & Minerals series captures the key vitamins and minerals you need every day – what they do, how much you need, and good food sources for them and their side effects if any.