Calcium – A Mineral with Multiple Benefits
Lack of calcium can be characterised by declining bone density, loss of musculoskeletal mass, and weakened bones. This mineral is essential for bones and joints. Get enough calcium foods to ensure our normal cellular functioning works as intended. Calcium supplements may be an option if you’re not getting enough it through your diet. This is not a problem if you’re eating the correct foods and avoiding substances that deplete calcium from the body.
Multiple Health Benefits of Calcium
Your nerves need this mineral to function properly, which makes calcium vital for cognitive health and not just for your bones. There is so much this mineral does for your body, and it can help in protecting against diseases like diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Below are some of the multiple Calcium health benefits:
- Improves Fertility – Your body releases certain hormones, and it requires calcium to synthesise them. This mineral is used to carry messages to your other organs and send signals to different parts of the body. You can also think of this mineral as a reservoir for your bones.
- Reduces risk of arthritis – Arthritis is marked by inflammation, joint pain, and weakened bone. Getting enough of this mineral in your diet reduces your chronic condition risk. Kids who get enough of this mineral can reach their potential height and not worry about bone developmental issues.
- Boosts Calcium – Here’s a surprising fact, your body doesn’t make enough calcium on its own. You need to take in this mineral through foods rich in calcium. The recommended amount of this mineral you require will change depending on your age.
- Corrects Mineral Imbalances – It is a mineral, and its adequate intake ensures the balance of other bodily minerals, such as potassium and phosphorus.
- Weight Control – If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll be happy to know that calcium helps you with weight loss efforts. Eating foods high in calcium ensures you get enough nutrients, thus keeping you satiated. It also reduces your total calories, thus significantly lowering your risk for developing obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health complications.
How Much Calcium Do You Require In A Day?
According to general healthcare guidelines, a male adult needs about 1000 mg of calcium daily. This amount increases as they age, and women need 1200 mg of this mineral if they are over 50. Increased intake can prevent fractures in postmenopausal women. You also need to take vitamin D with this mineral for proper bone health. If your vitamin D levels are low, there’s a chance that this mineral you take in won’t absorb or get adequately utilised.
When Should You Take Calcium Supplements?
You should take tablets or consider supplementing the mineral if you:
- Follow a vegan or 100% plant-based diet
- Suffer from lactose intolerance and are limiting pasteurised dairy products
- Have difficulty absorbing this mineral from foods
- Receive specific medical treatment or drugs such as corticosteroids
- Have inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
- Overeat protein or sodium, which causes your bones to dump excess of this mineral.
What are the Different Types of Calcium Supplements?
These supplements come in many forms, and several compounds are used to make them. The most common types of calcium supplements are:
- Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium)
- Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium)
- Calcium gluconate (9% elemental calcium)
- Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
Calcium carbonate is affordable and the cheapest out of all the other options. In terms of absorbability, many find that calcium citrate is the best. Remember that many tablets are fortified with other nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D since the body cannot adequately absorb these minerals without them. When choosing supplements, make sure to get the ones with elemental calcium.
It is the amount that your body can properly utilise. And another important point to note is tolerability. These supplements have few side effects, which may sometimes occur. When taken too much, side effects such as gas, diarrhoea, bloating, or constipation can occur. You may have to consult a nutritionist before buying one. Read the labels carefully and sample different tablets before committing to a product.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Taking Calcium Supplements?
Calcium tablets are not meant for everyone, and if you have any specific health conditions where you need to limit your intake, you should avoid taking them. Supplementation should be done on a case-by-case basis. Although the evidence is not definitive, concerns show that ingesting too much of this mineral can increase patients’ risk of heart attacks.
There are also conflicting studies on this mineral and its connection to prostate cancer. Some research shows there is no increased risk from consuming this mineral through dairy products, and more clinical trials need to be done to confirm this. Until then, it is safe to say that too much of anything is not good, so you should avoid overdosing on this mineral. Get adequate calcium-rich foods for your bones, and you will be good to go.
Foods That Are High in Calcium
Calcium rich foods are not just limited to animal products; you can enjoy plant-based products, but the bioavailability of these sources will differ. The highest sources of this mineral are raw dairy products such as hard cheeses, milk kefir, and yoghurt. You can get this mineral from poppy seeds, chia seeds, and dark leafy green vegetables like Kale.
Below are some of the best calcium foods out there:
- Sardines and pink salmon – Seafood is one of the top sources of this mineral, and just 3.75 ounces of sardines can give you up to 27% of your daily requirement. Oily fish also contains other essential nutrients besides this mineral which are suitable for your hair, nails, skin, and bones.
- Beans and lentils – These legumes are high in fibre and several other micronutrients. Winged beans deliver up to 244 mg of calcium in a serving. A cup of white beans is also a good source and gives you up to 12% of your DV (Daily Value).
- Almonds – A handful of almonds gives up to 6% of the DV of calcium. Almonds also contain other nutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, and manganese which work together with the nutrient.
- Grass-fed Whey Protein – If you can get your hands on some high-quality grass-fed whey protein, you will have a top-notch source of this mineral. Whey protein is loaded with B-vitamins and some vitamin D, which are also great for cognitive health.
- Fortified foods – Fortified foods are not recommended since some may be processed. But some products like bread, tortillas, and cereals are fortified with calcium. For those struggling to achieve their daily requirements, consuming these and milk can make it work.
Too much of this mineral can harm health, but getting too little is also wrong. So, it is essential to take an adequate amount of this mineral. Add food rich in this mineral to your daily diet and have a healthier life.
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Calcium deficiency symptoms range from fatigue, lethargy, lack of alertness, confusion, and forgetfulness.
Calcium helps the brain utilise the amino acid tryptophan, which regulates your sleep metabolism. Short answer – yes, this mineral improves your sleep.
If you have weak bones, lack strength, have brittle nails, or have a feeling of numbness on the skin, you need this mineral. Muscle cramps, aches, and teeth problems are also other signs.
Some fruits have trace amounts of this mineral: oranges, litchi, papaya, and kiwis.