Calcium is one of the most talked nutrients because of its widely known prominence. Most of us are aware that we need calcium to build stronger bones and teeth. Let us dive in more to find out everything about calcium and what the insufficient intake of calcium might lead to. There are other benefits of calcium beyond bones and let us get to know that. This article explain why calcium is important, sources to fulfil its requirement and recipes that calcium can be derived from.
Why do we need Calcium?
- 99% of calcium in our body is constituted in bones and teeth, and is essential for health and strength.
- Calcium is a requirement passing signals in the body, along with other ions like potassium, and more. In common terms, calcium is needed to feel the touch and pain of the sensory organs.
- Calcium is essential for timely blood clotting.
- Calcium is needed in generation of many enzymes by various parts of our body.
- It is one of the key elements of muscle construction and nerve functioning. Calcium is also required for regularising heartbeat.
What You Must Know About Calcium Intake
- Calcium deficiency causes osteoporosis, accelerates tooth decay, causes muscle tension, and often associated as one of the causes for high blood pressure.
- To absorb the calcium that we eat, we need another essential nutrient- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is mainly sourced through Sun light, fatty wild fish like mackerel and tuna, egg white and not to forget, fortified foods and drinks.
- Too much caffeine, alcohol and sodium affects the calcium absorption by body and may cause a deficit. Limiting these will lead to a better calcium availability on a daily basis.
- Calcium consumption per day should be 100-1200 mg which can be stretched till 2500 mg as a maximum. For persons who are taking supplements of iron, magnesium, zinc or other trace elements should avoid taking any food that is high in calcium. This is since calcium absorption inhibits proper absorption of these metallic nutrients for a short while. Also, more calcium leads to constipation and occurrence of kidney stones.
Now that we know about why calcium is needed, let’s take a look at how to achieve the recommended amount of calcium intake every day. Here are the best foods that provide calcium.
Milk and yogurt are known to be the best sources of calcium. While raw milk has maximum calcium, yogurt has a greater available calcium than that of pasteurised milk. Cheese also contains a good amount of calcium but takes a backseat for recommended consumption every day because of its fattening properties.
Vegetables like broccoli, green beans, sweet potato, baby carrots, butternut squash, okra, bok choy, kale are a reliable source of calcium. Sautéed green leafy vegetables, watercress, kelp (sea weed) are also considered good derivatives of the same.
Figs, apricots, kiwi, dates and orange are main source of calcium, among fruits. Here are a few recipes that you can try with calcium rich fruits.
Almonds, sunflower seeds, white beans, black eyed peas, and sesame seeds have a considerable amount of this essential nutrient.
Seafood like sardines, and clams are good source of calcium. Kelp is a sea weed which has a considerable amount of this nutrient, too.