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New Image International: The Benefits Of Calcium

The Benefits Of Calcium

NutritionalOctober 28

Calcium is a mineral which is essential for life. We all know that calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. But in addition to that, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract and our heart to beat. I’d say that it’s a fairly important mineral.

99% of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth. About 1kg of it.

Every day we lose calcium through our hair, skin, nails, sweat and urine. Our bodies can’t produce calcium, which is why it is so important to get enough from the food we eat. If we don’t eat enough of the calcium that our body needs, it is taken from our bones. Short term, we can cope, but if it happens too often, then our bones get weak and become more prone to breaking, osteoporosis and brittle bone disease.

Too many of us fall short of getting the right amount of calcium each day to help prevent bone loss, low bone density and broken bones.

Calcium for strong bones

Even though we all need calcium, our requirements vary over different life stages

  • Adults need approximately 1000mg per day
  • Adolescents need extra calcium (1300mg per day) to help them grow
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women need extra calcium (1000-1300mg per day) for their bone health and their baby’s development
  • Older adults (post-menopausal women and men over 70) need extra calcium (1300mg per day) to maintain their bone mass, as bone loss accelerates with age.

Teenagers need more calcium every day to maximise the strength of their bone. The other end of the spectrum is bone loss which is accelerated with age, meaning men over 70 and women after menopause, require extra calcium to maintain their bone density.

Dairy products are the richest source of calcium., including milk, cheese and yoghurt. Non-dairy foods also contain calcium, including fortified nut milk, tofu, sardines, broccoli and some nuts. We have to be careful of certain foods that contain oxalic or phytic acids, such as spinach, beans and whole grains, as this reduces the amount of calcium that can be used by the body.

Two to three servings of milk and milk products a day will help you reach your calcium requirements. One serving is approximately:

For those who do not eat dairy products, nondairy foods that contain calcium include:

  • Fortified soy, nut and rice milk
  • Tofu
  • Sardines
  • Almonds and sesame seeds
  • Broccoli

Apart from the fortified milk (which have added calcium), you would need to eat a lot more of the other foods to get the same calcium as you do from milk and milk products. For example, you would need to eat 6 cups of broccoli to get the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk.

  • Include one serve of Alpha Lipid™ Lifeline™ into your daily routine
  • Select a variety of dairy foods
  • Have small amounts of raw, unsalted almonds as a healthy snack
  • Make a green leafy salad with 45g tinned salmon as a quick lunch
  • Have a pottle of Greek, natural or low-sugar yoghurt for a calcium-filled afternoon tea

Fun Facts:

  • 1. Calcium is a chemical element with the symbol Ca and an atomic number of 20.
  • 2. Your body doesn’t produce calcium, so you have to rely on your diet to get the calcium you need.
  • 3. Dairy products and grains are the primary sources of dietary calcium, accounting for about threequarters of dietary intake. Other sources of calcium include protein-rich foods, vegetables, and fruits.
  • 4. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption by the human body. Vitamin D is converted to a hormone which causes intestinal proteins responsible for calcium absorption to be produced.
  • 5. Melting point: 842° Celsius
  • 6. Boiling point: 1,484° Celsius
  • 7. Although the largest place to find calcium in the body is in bones, it is also found in cartilage - the softer connective tissue located between different joints, the ear, nose, and the rib cage.
  • 8. In humans, the glands responsible for regulating calcium are called parathyroid glands, and they are located around the thyroid gland in the neck. The parathyroid glands are so good at regulating calcium in the blood; the level of calcium usually only varies by 1-2%!
Healthy Sources of calcium in food