Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It’s important for your bones, and makes about two percent of the total body weight.
The mineral performs numerous functions in the body, and its most important role involves maintaining strong bones. All you have to do is view your bones as calcium “checking account.”
Your bones make deposits and withdrawals of calcium. Bones are ‘living’ tissue that requires a constant maintenance. Your calcium intake is the primary method of boosting bone durability and strength.
“Your body uses 99 percent of its calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong, thereby supporting skeletal structure and function. The rest of the calcium in your body plays key roles in cell signaling, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function.” – Arielle Kamps, R.D., M.S.
Why do you need calcium and how much do you need?
Keep in mind that your body absorbs calcium when you’re consuming it throughout the day. You have to consume it throughout the whole day. Drinking yoghurt for breakfast won’t do the trick for you.
Calcium is also important in several other instances:
Blood clot formation
Release of hormones
Contraction of muscles
Steadiness of heartbeat
Transmission of nerve signals
Men and women need nearly the same amount of calcium per day. There are exceptions for individuals aged between 51 and 70, pregnant/lactating women aged 14-18 and 19-50.
Top 10 foods with high calcium content
Try to add these foods to your daily menu:
Chia seeds are the most powerful and versatile superfood. An ounce of these seeds provides 177mg (17% DV) of calcium. Chia seeds also contain protein, omega-3 fats and other healthy nutrients.
These greens contain almost every nutrient you can think of. Does “10 grams of protein” seem good enough to you? Collard greens are a nice addition to every dinner. A cup of chopped collard greens provides 266 mg (26% DV) of calcium.
It’s also called “pok-choy.” Bok choy is a fleshy veggie with about 882 mg (88% DV) of calcium per head. The veggie also contains 378 mg of vitamin C or 630% of DV.
Black beans are actually a rare food packed with a ton of protein and fiber (30% and 60% DV respectively). A cup of black beans also provides 46mg (5% DV) of calcium.
Some refer to it as a “pseudo-cereal.” The tasty grain is rich in iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of cooked amaranth contains 116mg (12% RDI) of calcium.
This is great news for all the pasta lovers out there. Parmesan has amazing nutritional value. It contains 331mg (33% RDI) of magnesium per ounce. It’s time for some more pasta.
Kale is the ultimate super food. The leafy green has 5 out of 5 stars according to Nutrition Data, due to its weight loss promoting and health optimizing properties. A cup of chopped kale contains 91mg of calcium (9% RDI).
Tofu is the number one Chinese gift to the world. It offers an array of health benefits. Half a cup of tofu provides 434 mg of calcium (43% DV).
Every type of yoghurt is good for you, and the low-fat type is super dense in calcium. Plain yoghurt gives about 30% RDI, and the low-fat product contains about 245 mg or 45% RDI.
You may not like milk, but it’s great for your health. Cow’s milk isn’t the only source of calcium. However, it’s the cheapest variety, and is also the most available type of milk. Cow’s milk holds an average of 314 mg of calcium (31% DV), and also contains vitamin A, vitamin D and protein.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, calcium can help you build strong and healthy bones. Other things can help you achieve even greater effect.
Consult your doctor and do a bone density test if you are older than 50
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Don’t expose yourself to cigarette smoke
Check food labels of products “high in calcium”
Stick to a weight training program every day. Extension and contraction of muscles is important for your bones
Use vitamin D supplements, as this vitamin eases the absorption of calcium