(BeWellBuzz) Pain in the joints, weak bones or those infamous stray white marks on your nails are all telltale signs of that potent calcium deficiency in your body. How often have you heard these clichés from your healthcare provider and experts at natural health? Well, its time you knew more about what exactly is calcium, what role does it play and most importantly, what are some of the healthiest sources of calcium.
Calcium is basically a type of mineral found in the human body and has an important role to play in maintaining good health. The most abundant mineral found in the body, it makes up for around 1.5% of the total body weight and is mostly housed in the bones and teeth.
Calcium – Important Facts
An average healthy adult requires up to 1000 mg of calcium every day. Here, we list some of the most important functions calcium performs in the human body:
- Vital for healthy bones and teeth
- Facilitates good cardiovascular health by ensuring proper contraction and dilation of blood vessels
- Helps metabolize enzymes and hormones
- Keeps cells membranes intact
- Helpful for lactating mothers
- Facilitates coagulation of blood
Put simply, calcium is one of the most important nutrients required by our body to perform its vital functions. Diseases like rickets, osteoporosis and osteomalacia can easily set in case of an inadequate calcium intake.
Though calcium supplements are very commonly used today, yet experts are now turning towards various food sources of calcium which are believed to be more effective and even safer.
In the sections below, we list some of the richest and most effective sources of calcium amongst our various food groups.
Calcium – 2 Key Dietary Sources
1. Food Groups
Calcium obtained exclusively from supplements can considerably increase your risk of heart disease. To avoid any related complications that might arise from higher amounts of calcium, always strive to fulfill your need of calcium from the following food groups:
Fresh vegetables such as:
- Collard greens
- Chinese cabbage or bok choy
- Turnip greens
- Sea vegetables
Foods and ingredients such as:
- Black eyed peas
- Blackstrap molasses
- Baked beans
- Dried figs
Dairy products such as:
- Raw Milk
- Raw Cheese
Here are some helpful ways by which you can include some of these useful food ingredients into your daily meals:
- Stir-fry these vegetables along with almonds in a healthy oil such as olive oil
- Include minced greens like collard greens and kale to soups and stews
- Replace peanut butter with almond butter
- Include calcium-rich beans like black-eyed peas to dishes like pasta, sauces, salads and soups
2. Herbal remedies
Experts suggest using a series of herbal solutions to fulfill your body’s need for calcium. Two most popular herbal remedies that can be used for enhanced calcium intake include horsetail and oat straw. Horsetail is believed to be very helpful in restoring bone loss and hence curing osteoporosis. Similarly, oat straw, which is basically the green oat grass in its milky stage, just before the oat top becomes mature, stimulates cell growth which further strengthens bones and teeth.
Points to remember
Experts suggest keeping the following important points in mind to ensure maximum absorption of calcium from your diet and supplements:
- Beware of the source of calcium. One relevant controlled study showed that while increasing the calcium intake from your diet is a safer option, taking calcium from supplements might actually make you vulnerable to hazards such as a heart disease.
- Consult your medical expert about supplementing your calcium intake with an adequate dosage of vitamin K2 for best results.
Remember that calcium doesn’t work in isolation. Make sure you have enough nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin K, D and A along with calcium so that you derive the maximum benefit from the various food groups.