Calcium Health Benefits

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Where would we be without calcium? A heap on the floor! Our bodies use 99% of calcium in our bones and teeth whilst the remaining 1% is found in soft tissues and blood. The mineral most prominent in the body, practically every food that is consumed contains some amount of calcium.

Why Your Body Needs Calcium

You’ll already know that calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth but it seems calcium is also needed for many other functions in the body. For instance, did you know that calcium helps regulate the rhythm of your heart beat? This is great for heart wellness.  Or that it helps nerves and muscles function correctly? In addition to this, it helps lower cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure and allows the blood clotting process to work. And if you’ve ever been told to drink a glass of milk before bed, there’s a reason for this advice. Calcium helps relieve insomnia.

Calcium Rich Food

There’s no excuse for not getting enough calcium into your diet. The most obvious choices include milk, cheese and yogurt. However you can also find calcium in tofu, dried beans and dark green vegetables. Many food producers also add calcium to cereals and orange juice. Eating drained sardines (and their bones) that have been packed in oil is another option.

How much calcium your body needs depends on your age. Infants and toddlers should get 400 and 600 mg respectively. Children should increase their intake of calcium to 800 and increase to 1200 mg/day as they near puberty. Teenagers need a lot of calcium because a significant amount of bone mass is being added during this stage of life. Adolescents and even young adults should aim to get 1200 mg/day. During pregnancy women should try to get between 1200 and 1500 mg/day of calcium. Men need 1000 mg/day but those age 65 and above need to increase their daily intake of calcium to 1500 mg/day.

Signs of Calcium Deficiency

When your body is low in calcium, you’ll see the effects in your bones first. They’ll become soft and brittle and if not addressed, you can develop osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is most prevalent in women during and after menopause

If children don’t consume enough calcium then they’ll suffer from growth-related problems including bone deformation. Rickets is another condition which used to be a thing of the past but is now starting to become a problem again. Decaying teeth, depression and spasms in the legs and arms are other noticeable symptoms of a calcium deficiency.

Drinking milk is probably the easiest way to obtain calcium and can help keep your teeth and bones strong for many years.


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