Importance of Calcium


Children, adolescents, pregnant women and the elderly need the most calcium. It is critical to consume adequate amounts of calcium early in life, because after about age 30, bone density reaches its maximum. And as we age, calcium absorption decreases and bones grow thinner. If a person’s diet includes adequate amounts of calcium, bone density can be maximized. However, if enough calcium is not provided by nutrition, supplements are recommended. Supplements should be recommended and monitored by a physician.

Sources Of Calcium Each serving of dairy food–an eight–ounce glass of milk, a cup of yogurt or a slice of cheese–is worth about 300 milligrams. Simply adding three additional servings of dairy foods a day will meet the recommended levels for most people. Fat can be avoided by consuming low–fat dairy foods.

Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, whole grains, nuts and sesame seeds are excellent sources of calcium. Supplements are best taken with meals, because the presence of food in the stomach stimulates production of acid, helping the absorption of calcium. Certain popular soft drinks with phosphorous cause calcium to be excreted by the kidneys. So it is essential to limit the intake of these drinks. To effectively absorb dietary calcium, the body needs Vitamin D, which comes from two sources: sunlight and food. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is enough. Those who live in northern climates without adequate sunshine in winter may require Vitamin D supplements.