Most people know that calcium is necessary for healthy teeth and strong bones. But, what they may not know is that calcium also protects the body in many other ways. So, besides preventing osteoporosis, calcium also yields other useful benefits.
As with other nutrients needed by the body, natural food sources offer the best way to take in calcium. Calcium thus taken in gets absorbed readily.
Health Benefits of Calcium
It is true that approximately 99% of calcium is found in the teeth and the bones. That is why calcium intake is highly beneficial for the bones and teeth.
The remaining 1% of calcium is circulated in the bloodstream where it performs a number of important functions.
- Calcium regulates the muscle contractions of the heart.
- It is important in the neural transmission of impulses
- Helps in blood clotting
- Aids uterine contractions at the time of birth
- Calcium is found in plenty in mother’s milk
- Aids the functioning of various enzymes
- Regulates the secretion of hormones
It is believed that calcium can help weight loss. Calcium plays a role in regulating fat storage and consuming enough of it may help to avoid gaining abdominal fat.
It is seen that pre-menopausal women suffered from fewer symptoms of menopause when they took in sufficient quantities of calcium. The reason behind this could be the hormone regulating effect associated with this element.
Research suggests that calcium may help defend the body from colon cancer by suppressing the growth of cancer causing polyps.
Calcium insufficiency may result in high blood pressure levels. Therefore, taking in sufficient amounts of calcium is beneficial to the heart. Calcium also helps the movement of nutrients across cell membranes.
As you age, the bones in the body are depleted of calcium. As the jawbone loses calcium, teeth become loose. This leads to gaps which in turn become festering grounds for bacteria. In this way, calcium deficiency can lead to loss of teeth and inflammation.
Natural sources of Calcium
Apart from supplements, calcium is found abundantly in different kinds of foods.
Dairy foods like low fat milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt all contain calcium.
Bean and beans products are also rich in calcium. Examples include white beans, navy beans, turtle beans and chickpeas. Soy is also rich in calcium.
Nuts and seeds like almonds, sesame and dried kernels are also good sources of this element.
Whole grains like oats and bannock also contain calcium.
Some vegetables contain calcium. These include turnip greens and mustard greens, Chinese cabbage, okra, kale and broccoli.
Oranges are also rich in calcium.
Fish like sardines contain calcium.
As we age, we lose calcium deposits from the body. This risk is more in menopausal women. Calcium deficiency can cause dreaded diseases like osteoporosis. To prevent this and to enjoy great health, it is important to take in plenty of calcium through natural foods like vegetables, nuts and dairy products.