Calcium is critical in all diets. Of all the mineral required by our bodies in its daily journey through life, calcium is the most prevalent. In the average adult body there is a kilogram of calcium.
Our bodies need so much calcium primarily to create both bones and teeth but it also helps to form blood clots at the sight of a wound and helps the nerves to communicate. The body does not make calcium on its own but is dependent on calcium rich foods in the diet, or from dietary supplements, to make up for the calcium that is lost every day.
The recommended daily allowance of calcium is a whopping 1000mg for normally active adults. Failure to replace the calcium lost can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. A deficiency in calcium can all produce other problems including irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms and cramps and abnormal blood clotting.
While everyone needs calcium some parts of the population have a more critical need than others. These include:
- Growing children to prevent rickets and other deformities of the skeletal structure
- Elderly individuals and especially post menopausal women
- Women who are pregnant or who are breast feeding
- Vegetarians, or others who do not eat animal products
Because the body absorbs nutrients more efficiently from foods than from dietary supplements, the best way to get calcium is my ensuring calcium rich foods are present in your diet. A few of these foods are:
- Milk; both whole and skimmed. Also soy milk.
- Cheeses; cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, feta, etc.
- Vegetables; especially baked and red kidney beans. Also okra and broccoli
- Nuts; almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts
- Fish; both sardines in oil and salmon are very high in calcium
- Breads and grains
- Fruit; apricots figs and oranges are all high in calcium
Any and all of these foods will help replace the calcium we lose every day. But you might also want to include a calcium supplement in your diet each day to ensure that sufficient calcium is being ingested.