mineral series: calcium

In an extension of my vitamin series, I thought I’d branch into minerals, as most of us see them in our multivitamin and don’t think much about it. Why don’t we learn about what these minerals actually do?

Today’s special: CALCIUM!

dairy, sources of calcium, food sources of calcium, all about calcium, calcium for bone health, calcium for teeth health, what does calcium do, the fit chronicles, the fit chronicles blog, alison hay

photo: Mark’s Daily Apple

Most of us need it, whether we’re menopausal women, growing boys and girls, pregnant ladies, elderly people, etc. It’s responsible for muscle function, nerve transmission, hormonal secretion, but most importantly supporting strong teeth and bones.

Did you know that 99% of the calcium in our bodies is used for the bones and teeth? Calcium is especially important for those times that our bodies are undergoing major change, such as in childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, and after menopause.

So how much should we get? Any man or woman, pregnant or not, should aim for 1,000mg per day. The elderly age bracket over age 70 should amp it up to 1,200mg per day.

What does this look like in a daily diet? Try 1/4 cup of part-skim mozzarella (quesadilla, anyone?!), 8 ounces of calcium-fortified soy milk, 1 cup of raw kale, and 8 ounces of plain, low-fat yogurt. I tried to make this diet look a little more diverse, as opposed to pounding cups and cups of dairy. Some people aren’t down with that.

Other foods rich in calcium are milk, cheese, sardines (my husband will enjoy that one), calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu, canned salmon, and calcium-fortified cereals.

Hate anything dairy? You can pop a supplement, but make sure to ask your doctor first.

Calcium deficiencies can be problematic.  Osteopenia can result from low calcium in the body, which can eventually lead to osteoporosis, a disease in which your bones become more fragile and more susceptible to break. With inadequate calcium intake you also are at a higher risk for any kinds of bone fractures. Not cool, especially if you happen to love high-impact activities, such as running.

Check out your multivitamin to see if it packs any calcium, then try to squeeze some in each day! I know I need to focus on this one, I’ve always been told by my doctor to pump up the calcium…

source: Office of Dietary Supplements

photo credit: Mark’s Daily Apple