What is calcium?
Calcium is a nutrient that is needed by all living organisms, including humans. It is the main mineral found in bones and teeth and is also involved in various other physiological processes (1). Among many other calcium benefits, it provides structure and strength to bones, helps muscles contract and relax, and assists in blood clotting. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, nerve conduction, and the secretion of hormones and enzymes.
Importance of Calcium:
Calcium is found primarily in dairy products. Not only do our bones need calcium for growth and maintenance, but it also helps maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation. Along with vitamin D, calcium helps the body absorb iron more efficiently. It is an essential mineral that is found naturally in many food sources. Its important role in our bodies is to maintain normal nerve, muscle, and heart function as well as help with the formation of strong bones and teeth. It also helps regulate the release of certain hormones and enzymes in the body, making it a necessary component of a healthy diet. Calcium can also be found in many non-dairy products such as broccoli, kale, and sardines, and it can also be taken as a dietary supplement (2).
Daily Calcium Requirement by Age:
Depending on age and gender, the daily recommended intake of calcium may vary. Infants generally require 400 mg of calcium a day, while teenagers and adults need between 1000 and 1300 mg per day. Post-menopausal women should aim for the higher end of this range. Pregnant and nursing mothers require more calcium than other individuals, which usually comes up to 1000-1300 mg each day.
Benefits of Calcium:
Several calcium benefits are ranging from the ones for your skin to overall health.
1. Calcium Benefits for Skin:
As beneficial as calcium is for your bones and teeth, it is also important for the health of your skin (3). Calcium helps with collagen production, which is vital for maintaining healthy, youthful skin. Some of the calcium benefits for the skin include helping to prevent acne, wrinkles, and premature ageing. Furthermore, calcium helps to retain moisture in the skin and has been known to reduce redness and inflammation.
2. Calcium Benefits for Hair:
Many people do not realize that there are many calcium benefits for hair too. It is important for maintaining healthy hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Calcium also helps to protect strands of hair from damage and breakage, making it an important part of any hair care regimen. Additionally, calcium can help keep the scalp moisturized, which helps reduce dandruff and other scalp conditions.
3. Calcium Benefits for the Body:
Calcium is an essential mineral for the body and plays an important role in many body functions, as mentioned before. It aids in strong bones, helps muscles contract and relax, and is involved in blood clotting and nerve function. When there is a calcium deficiency, your body takes it from your bones, leading to osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions if left unchecked. That's the reason why it's important to get the right amount of calcium in your diet every day. Calcium for pregnant women is also quite important as it helps reduce adverse gestational outcomes (4). It does this by decreasing the risk of developing hypertensive disorders during the pregnancy period, which is mostly connected with a significant number of maternal deaths.
One of the best ways to get the calcium your body needs is to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are some of the most popular sources, but there are plenty of non-dairy options as well. Here are some great examples that you can add to your meal plan:
100 grams (g) of kale contains around 250 milligrams (mg) of calcium. This is higher than whole milk's 110 mg per 100 g. Other calcium-rich food includes collard greens.
One cup of cooked broccoli packs in about 180 mg of calcium. This cruciferous vegetable is one of the calcium-rich foods that also contain a host of other great nutrients including the immune-boosting vitamin C.
3. Sardines and salmon with edible bones:
3 ounces of sardines contain 325 mg of calcium. Sardines are one of the best calcium-rich foods apart from all dairy products. If you wish to reap some calcium benefits, you can simply toss the fish with some leafy greens, tomato, cucumber, olives, feta and some wine vinegar.
A quarter-cup serving contains approximately 120 mg of calcium. This calcium-rich food can be chopped up fresh or used as dried to add to oatmeal, salads or Greek yoghurt with a drizzle of honey on top. You can also eat figs as a quick snack.
5. Firm tofu with added calcium sulfate:
One 3-ounce piece contains 253 mg of calcium. Tofu is made by solidifying soy milk in a process called coagulation, mostly by using calcium sulfate.
6. Fortified plant milk like almond, coconut and soy milk:
Be sure to check labels for content levels as they vary by product.
Apart from calcium-rich foods, you can also rely on some supplements. We urge you to try the Saffola Fittify The Perfekt Gummies For Bone Health Calcium and Vitamin D. These gummies are sure to help you build good muscle strength and in Osteoporosis. They're the ultimate game changer towards having strong bones.
While calcium is incredibly important for strong bones, teeth and a well-functioning body and mind, your levels can still be too low. A calcium deficiency may lead to more frequent bone fractures and problems with muscle movements, like cramping. If you're not consuming enough calcium-rich foods or supplements, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Muscle cramps
- Tooth decay
- Poor blood clotting
- Weak bones and teeth
- Tingling or numbness in the fingertips
In severe cases, a calcium deficiency can lead to significant health problems over time. The good news is that it's fairly easy to get adequate amounts of calcium in your diet through dairy products or supplements.
Understanding the calcium benefits for the body and mind is essential, both for your health as well as your well-being. By incorporating a variety of calcium-rich foods into your diet, you can reduce your risk of developing conditions such as osteoporosis and depression. And if you're not getting enough calcium from your foods, consider taking a calcium supplement to ensure you're getting the right amount.
FAQs on Benefits of Calcium:
What foods should I avoid while taking calcium?
High-salt foods or caffeinated coffees and sodas should be avoided while taking calcium in any form as they can interfere with calcium absorption.
Where is calcium stored in the body?
99% of your body's calcium is stored in the bones and the remaining 1% gets stored in your muscles, blood and other tissues.
What foods or habits can destroy calcium in the body?
If you're on a diet that is very high in animal protein like beef or pork, it may cause calcium loss. This is because animal proteins have sulfur which ends up forming an acid in your body. And to maintain an acidic balance, your body may release calcium from your bones to neutralize the acid. Also consuming a lot of sodium (salt) can make it difficult for your body to retain calcium.
Is calcium toxic to cells?
When the calcium level in your blood is above normal it can result in hypercalcemia. Also, too much calcium in your blood will weaken your bones, create kidney stones and interfere with your brain and heart work.
Can too much calcium affect sleep?
High blood calcium can cause energy to fall, and memory and concentration to fade gradually. Your sleep is disturbed which will ultimately make you moody as you won't feel well-rested.
What is a normal calcium level?
Normal calcium level ranges from 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL. The normal value range may vary according to different laboratories, but it's minimal as some labs may test different specimens or use different measurements.