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Important Facts About Calcium

The element calcium is the third most abundant alkaline earth metal in the earth's crust.  However, despite this, it cannot be found as an element in nature since it easily binds a chemical reaction with air and water to combine with other elements and form compounds.  Calcium facts show that the most abundant calcium sources that occur naturally are chalk, gypsum, and lime.  Lime is made up of calcium carbonate, which is basically a compound of calcium and carbon.  

The Romans were the first people to use calcium in the first century but it was Sir Humphrey Davy of England who discovered the element in 1808 by extracting the metal using electrolysis of calcium carbonate and hot mercury in order to extract the metal calcium.  Since then, calcium has been in use in industries for many applications.

Other calcium facts are: calcium supplements sold commercially are actually compounds of calcium citrate or calcium carbonate.  The body merely breaks these compounds down during digestion and separate calcium for the body to absorb.  Calcium facts are 99% of our calcium intake goes to the bones and teeth.  The remaining 1% mixes in the blood and used by the body, which is integral for other vital processes such as blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and proper functioning of the central nervous system.

The body needs calcium to maintain bone density.  Otherwise, long-term calcium deficiency can lead to the crippling disease known as osteoporosis especially in the elderly.  Osteoporosis happens when the bones become loses its density and becomes brittle – which is prone to fractures even in minor accidents.  In the U.S., more than $13 billion is spent for health insurance services in treating osteoporosis-related incidents such as fractured bones.
Calcium pantothenate, popularly known as vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, is a compound essential in cell metabolism and synthesis of enzymes like carbohydrates, fatty acids, and even protein in order for the release of energy. 

Calcium facts – daily requirements
We need calcium all throughout our lives.  Infants age 0-6months and 7-12months are required a daily intake of 210mg and 270mg, respectively.  Toddlers need 500mg of calcium per day while preschool children aged 4-8 years old need 800mg.  Calcium is vital between the ages 9-18, especially during the growth spurt years of puberty in which adolescent tend to be most active.  Calcium needs to be maintained at 1000mg each day from 19-50 years of age to prevent osteoporosis later in life.  Older people aged 50 and above need 1200mg of calcium while pregnant and lactating women need 1300mg of calcium to support the infants as well as themselves.

Calcium for a healthy you - Calcium food sources

Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for the body to build strong bones and teeth.  Likewise, calcium is important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation.  About 99% of the calcium in our body goes to bone cells (including our teeth) while 1% mixes in the blood.  When calcium in the blood goes below normal, the bones release the necessary amounts of calcium to put it back to normal.   Long-term shortage of calcium results to osteoporosis, a crippling disease that affects men and women mostly in their 50's.

It is of vital importance to take in the recommended daily allowance of calcium while you're young.  Dairy products are just one of the many calcium food sources.  If you dislike this option, there are various non-dairy calcium food sources that are equally high in calcium.  However, fiber may interfere in calcium absorption but non-dairy calcium food sources have lesser cholesterol or none at all compared to calcium food sources like milk, cheese, etc.  Milk remains the highly absorbed calcium food source.  

Calcium food sources – dairy

Skim milk is the highest source of calcium among other milk products containing 306mg of readily absorbable calcium, 8oz plain yogurt contains 415mg, 8oz whole milk has 275mg, pasteurized American cheese contains 162 for an ounce, 1 cup cottage cheese with 1% milk fat has 138mg.  In general, cow's milk has a fractional absorption of 32%, which translates to 96mg of absorbable calcium per 300mg calcium content.  It is still the highest among calcium food sources only that you'd have to contend with high amounts of cholesterol present in milk.

Calcium food sources – non-dairy

If you are a vegetarian or are not a dairy person, there are always alternative calcium food sources that will suit your lifestyle and preferences. 

Tofu if set with calcium, for a 1 cup serving, contains 130mg of calcium, 1oz of dry roasted almonds has 80mg calcium, 1 tablespoon of almond butter has 43mg, 1 cup pinto or red or cranberry beans contains 82-89, 1 cup white beans has 161mg, 1 cup boiled broccoli contains 178mg with 53% fractional calcium absorption, 1 cup boiled brussel sprouts has 56mg with 64% fractional absorption, 1 cup boiled Chinese cabbage contains 158mg with 54% fractional absorption, ½ cup firm tofu set with calcium contains 258mg with 31% fractional absorption, and 1 cup boiled turnip greens contain 198mg of calcium and a fractional absorption of 52%.

To lessen your chances of cholesterol intake, you may wish to alternate milk and non-dairy calcium food sources to be able to meet your daily requirement for calcium.  For an extensive list of calcium food sources, check the official website of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Calcium Diet:

A foremost mineral crucial for healthy teeth and bones, Calcium is needed in great amounts by the body. It has also been deemed a very important component, not only for the bones, but for every muscle tissue contraction of the body, from skeletal muscle responsible for the movement of the limbs, to the involuntary and voluntary muscles accountable for intestinal content movement, and to the heart muscle beating tirelessly and regularly all through life.  

A lot of adults do not obtain the adequate amount of calcium in their diet; only about twenty to thirty percent of calcium is absorbed by the body in an average diet.  A calcium diet is very essential for the body to obtain sufficient amounts of calcium that the body needs for its daily normal function.  Keeping pace with the required body calcium every day, helps keep up with bone metabolism and allows the bone to maximize a satisfactory amount of bone mass while growing that will help maintain the bone mass in later years of ones life.

There are a lot of sources for high calcium diet in the foods one eat, including dairy foods and non-dairy foods.  The content of calcium in food differ depending on components from a lot of foods, which means that  some food may have more or little calcium content with various brands. 

High calcium foods such as dairy products are one of the most widespread calcium diets that people take on in a lot of industrialized countries. Dairy food which are calcium-filled intended for every meal are already obtainable in the market today, and if fat and calories have made you cut back dairy food intake, there are a lot of fat free and less fat assortment of yogurt, cheese, and milk products.  

Foods with calcium such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds are good sources of calcium, and should be included in ones prepared calcium diet as well.  The calcium contained in vegetables with low oxalate such as kale, is well absorbed by the body compared to calcium in cow’s milk.  One can also include calcium supplements to add-on to the calcium diet if the dietary sources are inadequate.  

Although there are a lot of calcium supplements obtainable in the market today, differences should be taken into consideration when selecting the suitable supplement.  Always know the elemental calcium present in the tablet. 

High calcium diet is very essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and body.  A good calcium diet should contain sufficient amounts of calcium required by the body either through combining high calcium food sources and calcium supplements, or just sticking with natural calcium-filled foods.  Always remember though, that too much of anything is bad, including calcium.  So stick with the needed and required amounts of calcium and don’t overdo it.

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