Did you know that calcium isn’t just for bones? This essential nutrient has many other health benefits!
What is calcium and why do we need it?
Calcium is an essential mineral for our good health. It’s most often associated with healthy bones and teeth, although it also plays an important role in the function of the nerves and muscles. It has an important role in blood clotting, helping muscles to contract, and regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve functions.
The risks of calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency can reduce bone strength and lead to osteoporosis. It can also cause rickets in children and other bone disorders in adults, although these disorders are more commonly caused by vitamin D deficiency.
- Your nails become brittle and you get nail in nail.
- You experience frequent muscle cramps and tightness.
- A loss of memory.
- Affect your mental health leading to depression and excessive physical exhaustion.
- More likely to often feel sick.
- An abnormal heartbeat.
Calcium deficiency is generally more common in girls and women as most calcium is lost during menstruation and pregnancy.
Health Benefits of Adequate Calcium in your Diet
- Supports bone health.
- Helps regulate muscle contractions.
- Helps maintain weight.
- Strengthens nails and teeth.
- Transports nutrients.
- Lessens PMS.
- Supports heart health.
- Balances pH levels.
- Protect against cancer, diabetes, strokes and high blood pressure.
How to get more calcium into your diet for health benefits.
You might get inadequate calcium via diet because eating foods rich in calcium also needs an essential vitamin D to synthesise so that calcium is absorbed in the body.
It’s essential to have calcium rich food with adequate vitamin D in the body.
The best food sources of calcium.
- Milk is a great source of calcium, which is well absorbed by the body and other dairy products like cheese, curd, paneer, greek yogurt etc.
- Green leafy vegetables that include spinach, bathua, amaranth, broccoli, turnip greens, kale, mustard leaves, fenugreek, drumsticks etc.
- All nuts including peanuts contain small amounts of calcium, but almonds are especially rich in addition to vitamin E.
- Foods and drinks fortified with calcium include plant milks and yogurts, flour, cornmeal, orange juice, and some types of cereal.
- Certain varieties of seeds include poppy, sesame, celery, sunflower seeds and chia seeds can provide up to 13% of the RDI for calcium. Like nuts, seeds are also rich in healthy fats, protein, and fibre. What’s more, they may protect against a variety of diseases.
- Dried Figs, oranges, blackcurrants, and blackberries are worth adding to your diet. They’re fruits with the highest amounts of easily absorbable calcium.
- Beans, peas, and lentils contain decent amounts of calcium and are great sources of protein and fibre. Soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them can improve nutrient absorption.
- Soybeans and soy-based foods are great sources of calcium. They also offer complete protein, fibre, and an array of other vitamins and minerals.
- Adding seaweed to your diet is yet another way to increase your calcium intake.
- Makhana is an excellent source of several important nutrients and makes a great addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet. It contains a good amount of carbs in each serving and is also rich in several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
Calcium is an important mineral that plays a key role in many aspects of health. While dairy products tend to pack the highest amounts of this mineral, plenty of other good sources exist, many of which are plant-based. You can easily meet your calcium needs by eating from the diverse list of foods. But ensure that along with this you get your daily dose of Sunshine that energises your day.
Caution: Dietary calcium is considered safe, but too much calcium in the form of supplements might have some health risks. Too much calcium has the potential to increase the risk of kidney stones, constipation or even calcium buildup in your blood vessels, along with difficulty absorbing iron and zinc.