Calcium is most essential for our body and if there’s any mineral which is in maximum is our body then that is calcium. Its vital role is examined in bone structure, teeth, heart and nerve functioning, proper functioning of kidneys etc. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) if calcium should be 1000 mg for adults, above the age of 50 it should be increased to 1200 mg, while among children and teenagers it should be 1300 mg. But unfortunately, a large number of the population avoid it and fail to meet the daily requirement.
It is used in conditions like muscle cramps, osteoporosis, rickets, osteomalacia. Calcium is taken by mouth to reduce symptoms of hyperthyroidism, premenstrual syndrome along with many other symptoms.
Calcium carbonate is taken by mouth as an antacid for heartburn. Calcium carbonate and calcium acetate are also taken by mouth to reduce phosphate level in people with kidney diseases.
The working of calcium intake
The human bone, teeth constitute most of the calcium mineral content body, besides also identified in the muscles, bloodstream and certain tissues. Calcium is stored in the body as a reservoir that can be used as and when needed by the body. The concentration of calcium in the body reduces as we age. Calcium is released from the body via sweat, skin cells and body wastes. Calcium concentration declines when the estrogen level falls. Calcium level varies with gender, age.
Bones are always breaking and then again reconstructing and calcium intake is very helpful in this process.
Some foods which must be necessarily taken to increase calcium intake are as follows:
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium. Our body is built to absorb calcium from dairy sources more easily than plant sources. In addition, some cheese is also rich in protein content such as cottage cheese. If someone has a digestion issue with lactose products, then they may go for hard cheese which is very low in lactose and is easily digestible. However, dairy products have countless benefits. They take care of your heart. The risk of heart-related diseases is less with the intake of dairy products. Its daily intake regularises your metabolism which itself is the solution to many diseases like heart disease, kidney problems, type 2 diabetes. But as with every other food product, everything in excess is bad. Cheese is a poser house of minerals so it’s content of fats and calories are also very high. At the same time, it’s sodium content is also more which doesn’t suit every individual.
It’s an excellent source of calcium. They are embedded with probiotic bacteria which are considered good bacteria serving health benefits and helps indigestion. 1 small bowl of yoghurt has 30% of RDI with additional mineral content like phosphorous, potassium, Vitamin B2 and B12. It improves the metabolic process. It has been consumed for hundreds of years. It’s produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. It also helps in weight control as it produces hormones that signal fullness, which doesn’t allow you to consume less and in turn controls weight. Some types of ad yoghurt contain probiotics that noise the digestive system by reducing symptoms of diarrhoea, gastrointestinal disorders like bloating, constipation. It even strengthens the immune system. Its richness in vitamins and minerals helps in maintaining bone strength. Its daily consumption reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Milk is one of the cheapest and common sources of calcium. It’s the part and parcel of every household. Not a single day can go without it. It’s an additional source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D. Goats milk us very lightly, easily digestible.
4. Seeds, beans and lentils
Seeds are a small package, with must content nutritional values. They are a rich source of calcium and even proteins. Some are even fitted with omega 3 fatty acids. Sesame seeds have additional nutritional value like copper, iron, and manganese. Whereas beans and mentions are rich in fibre content, protein and micronutrients with the bonus of folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium. Surprisingly they are extremely delicious when cooked and served with roti and rice. Altogether they serve you with the powerhouse of nutrition. Plant-based food provides a wide range of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties. Lentils are a plentiful source of fibre, folic acid and potassium. All these support heart health. Lentils add essential vitamins, minerals and fibre to the diet. Lentils are very rich in violating which is beneficial in pregnancy.
Of all the nuts, almonds are the highest source of almonds. Almonds are a source of healthy fats and protein and an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and vitamin E. Eating nuts may help lower blood pressure, body fats and a risk factor for metabolic disease. Almonds skin contains a range of flavonoids. Almonds also help in protecting osteoporosis. Almonds can be added to your meals at different times like breakfast, lunch, dinner. It can be mixed in milk. At the same time, almond butter is a huge source of calcium.
6. Other foods
Calcium-rich food products are dairy products, cheese, butter, milk, chocolates, fruits like oranges, grapes, vinegar, cedar, lemon etc. Fortunately, these products are available readily in the market, then also people avoid including them in their diet. However, there are many non-dairy products also that are high in calcium content.
Benefits of calcium
- Strengthen bones
About 99% of the calcium in the human body is in its bones and teeth. Calcium is necessary for the development of bones, teeth, and growth. After the person’s growth has stopped, calcium helps in the development of bones and prevents bones density loss to a great extent.
- Muscle contraction
Calcium regulates muscle contraction. When the nerve stimulates the muscle, the body releases calcium. The calcium coordinated with the protein in the bones to contract the muscle. When the body pumps out the calcium from the body, the muscle relaxes.
- Cardiovascular system
Calcium helps to obstruct the role of blood clotting. The process of clotting is a complex process that involves numerous chemicals in which calcium is one. Calcium maintains heart muscle. It helps in relaxing smooth muscles that surround nerve vessels. Calcium consumption lowers blood pressure. Vitamin D helps the body in absorbing calcium.
- Calcium is the cofactor for many enzymes. Without calcium, many enzymes don’t work effectively.
- It improves cholesterol values
- Lowers blood pressure among mothers who consumed enough calcium during pregnancy.
Harmful effects of calcium intake
It’s the condition when the calcium intake in the blood exceeds its limit. When the calcium intake is excess then it disturbs the proper functioning of the heart, brain, forms kidney stones, weakens bones.
The older women who had higher calcium intake or continuous intake till 5 years are more susceptible to stroke.
Poor kidney function
Too much calcium intake hinders proper kidney function.
Too much calcium is dangerous in conditions like parathyroid gland disorder and sarcoidosis.
Calcium can hinder the thyroid hormone.
Calcium and phosphate have to be in balance in the body. If the calcium increases then it’s harmful. There are some minor side effects of calcium as well such as belching or gas.
Possible dangers of calcium supplements
- They may increase heart risk
The only known fact about calcium supplements they increase the risk of many heart diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
- High level is linked with prostate cancer
A high level of calcium supplement is linked to kidney stones
Calcium supplements formulate into kidney stones. It increases hip bone density. They have a higher risk of hip fractures.
- A high level of calcium in the blood leads to a condition called hyperglycemia which includes many symptoms like stomach ache, nausea, irritability, depression.
Calcium plays a very important role in handling the key functional aspects of the human body. Calcium is needed by the body to circulation of the blood through the body, muscular movement, as well as maintain hormonal balance. Besides, it enables the transmission of messages from the brain to other parts of the body. It’s a major part of teeth or bone health. It strengthens the bone and increases its density. If your diet doesn’t contain proper calcium then the body extracts it from your bones which in turn makes your bones weak.
The body doesn’t naturally produce calcium so an individual must take it through their diet. However, if your body is low in vitamin D, then the body isn’t capable enough to take complete benefit of calcium. Therefore along with calcium-rich food, vitamin D rich food is equally important. Vitamin D rich food is egg yolks, mushroom, milk also has added vitamin D in it.
Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D. The human skin has the ability to generate Vit-
D upon exposure to the light form the evening sun. Hence people with skin tone dark need more calcium and vitamin D through food as they don’t produce vitamins naturally.
Calcium intake reduces the risk of premenstrual symptoms, however, the lack of calcium gives birth to many health issues. Calcium is essential for adults to avoid osteoporosis and helps children to grow and develop. Children who get less calcium don’t grow to their appropriate height.