When we think of calcium, the first thing that flashes in our mind, are images of strong bones and healthy teeth. However the range of benefits offered by eating calcium rich food or taking calcium supplements are mind boggling.
Let us look at some of the health benefits of calcium. The calcium inside our body is mostly found in our bones and teeth. Milk is one of the richest sources of dietary calcium. Other than milk, most dairy products, soy milk, tofu, broccoli, collard greens, blackstrap molasses, sardines, dried figs, quinoa, navy beans and calcium fortified orange juice are all excellent sources of dietary calcium.
The daily calcium requirement increases during pregnancy and when a woman approaches menopause. The main reason why women who are nearing menopause needed that extra dose of calcium is to prevent osteoporosis.
The mineral calcium, besides maintaining healthy teeth and bones, also play an important role in controlling blood clotting. Fibrin is one of the elements needed for blood to clot properly. The stability of fibrin is preserved by calcium.
For proper fat metabolism and to ensure the normal functioning of the digestive system, the body needs certain hormones and enzymes.It is calcium that helps in the production of these vital hormones and enzymes.
People who suffer from bouts of muscle cramps (involuntary or voluntary) are most likely suffering from calcium deficiency. Even painful abdominal cramps are the result of insufficient calcium in the system. Neurotransmitters will not be released properly between nerve junctions if a person suffers from calcium deficiency. The mineral calcium plays a vital role in nerve signaling, neurotransmission and nerve conduction.
A little known fact about calcium is that if taken properly it can help a person to lose weight. Calcium also reduces the incidence of colon cancer. To keep your heart health and strong, calcium rich foods should be incorporated into the daily diet.
Calcium can also reduce PMS related symptoms like depression, cramping and irritability. Although calcium is extremely important for the normal functioning of the body, excessive calcium intake in the form of supplements can lead to a condition known as hypercalcemia.
For optimum calcium absorption take calcium at night, but not exceeding 500mg at any one time. Also get enough vitamin D and don’t take excessive amounts of caffeine or sodium which can hamper the calcium absorption.