Calcium: It’s more than “Got Milk”
If your parents forced you to drink milk all the time as a child then they had you headed in the right direction. Milk is loaded with the mineral calcium that is vital in building strong bones and teeth.
Calcium is extremely important! Calcium is a mineral that is found in many foods. Your body needs calcium in order to maintain strong bones. Calcium is not only stored in your bones, but it is also found in your teeth.
Your body requires calcium for your nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part and help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and help release hormones and enzymes.
The amount of calcium every person needs depends on their age.
According to the National Institutes of Health, these are the recommended amounts of calcium needed for specific age groups:
|Birth to 6 months||200 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||260 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||700 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||1,000 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||1,300 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years||1,300 mg|
|Adults 19–50 years||1,000 mg|
|Adult men 51–70 years||1,000 mg|
|Adult women 51–70 years||1,200 mg|
|Adults 71 years and older||1,200 mg|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding teens||1,300 mg|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding adults||1,000 mg|
You can find calcium in many places such as your food choices. There are many foods other than dairy that contain calcium.
That is right! A cup of green beans contains 27% of your daily value of calcium. Green beans are also efficient in weight loss. You can spice this vegetable with ground pepper to add a little flavor.
Carrots are said to make your eyesight better. This orange vegetable keeps your bones nice and strong and your teeth pearly white.
Sweet potatoes are another vegetable that is a good source of calcium. They have more Vitamin A and fewer calories than regular potatoes as well. If you don’t want to eat the potatoes in their normal state, you can spice it up by making sweet potato fries. (Who doesn’t love fries?)
Not only are vegetables packed with calcium but so are fruits. Oranges contain 74 mg of calcium. Oranges can be enjoyed as a snack when you are hungry, but they are also great for salads.
Sardines are one of the healthiest fish to eat. About seven sardines contain 321mg of calcium.
Other foods that contain calcium include clams, almonds, kelp, white beans and black-eyed peas.
It is important to provide your body with the calcium it needs because your body cannot make more calcium. If you are not getting enough calcium, there are calcium supplements you can take.
If you are not getting enough calcium, your body can take calcium from your bones to support other functions which will make your bones weak.
Symptoms of the lack of calcium include:
- Muscle cramps
- Weak/brittle nails
- Numbness in the hands, feet, and face
- Muscle spasms
Make sure you are getting your recommended dose of calcium as well as other nutrients each day to keep your body healthy and happy!