What are the different sources of calcium for optimum health?

November 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Health Misc.

Did you know that the most abundant mineral in the body is calcium? Well, it is because it comprises about 2% of our body weight in which 99% of it is found in teeth, bones, and hard tissues. Besides the major function of calcium, which is related to bone formation, it has other metabolic functions too. These are blood coagulation, responsible for preventing blood loss whenever we have injuries; transmission of nerve impulses in the contraction of skeletal muscles, and regulation of the contraction of the heart muscle. All of these are vital functions in the body. Without calcium, it would be close to impossible to survive in this world.

 

Calcium is needed by everyone and not just for growing kids. Knowing the different food products rich in calcium will help in planning a 1-week or 4-week cycle menu to meet the nutrient needs of every family member. The all-time favorite answer of children when asked about the foods rich in calcium is milk, of course. Dairy products derived from milk such as cheese and yogurt are excellent sources as well.

 

Given the fact that not everyone can tolerate milk because they are deficient in the enzyme lactase, does that mean they have no other rich sources of calcium? This should not be a problem because there is a great deal of calcium-rich foods other than dairy products.

 

Plant-based foods, especially green leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium. Examples of these are collards, turnip greens, and spinach. Though be careful of vegetables containing phytates and oxalates because they make some calcium not available for absorption.

 

Animal food products that are excellent sources are mostly sea foods like sardines, canned salmons, and clams. Also, eating the bones of fish instead of throwing them away can provide sufficient amounts of calcium.

 

There are also increasing production and distribution of commercial food products fortified with calcium and these include orange juice, rhubard, bread, and cereal. Still for individuals who think their calcium intake is still not adequate, they have the option to take in vitamin supplements. The age group needing multivitamins the most are children and growing teenagers. Although you have to be careful when taking supplements and check all labels first before buying it. It is advised that you check with the doctor if it is a must to have calcium supplementation.

 

Excellent sources of calcium are not a problem. They are found everywhere even if you are lactose intolerant. There should be no excuses not to have adequate calcium intake because in the end, you will be the one suffering the consequences of deficiencies like osteoporosis and osteomalacia

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