Calcium is the main constituent of our bones and teeth. Calcium is essential for development and growth of children. It also has a role to play in the contraction of muscles and clotting of blood. Calcium also helps lower blood pressure. The body utilizes Calcium to assist the working of heart, nerves and muscles.
Calcium is not produced intrinsically in the body and is required to be supplemented from outside from the food we consume. Calcium enters the body via calcium rich food and gets carried to the various organs to assist them perform their work. The extra calcium is reserved in the body to be utilized in cases of shortage of the element. In times like that the body digs into this reserve from our bones to perform its work.
The two significant sources of Calcium are milk and dairy products. Milk especially is considered to be an excellent source of Calcium. One glass of milk, i.e. an approx 200 ml has the potential to supply 55% of the calcium to a six year old. Apart from milk, cheese and yogurts are supposed to be the next best sources of calcium. Consumption of these three daily products every day is recommended by the Dairy Council to meet the day to day requirement of calcium. Individual under 50 years of age are advised to take at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Those above 50 should increase their daily intake of calcium to approximately 1,200 mg per day.
Leaving the milk and its products, other non dairy sources of calcium are also available. One can even opt for these to ensure that you meet the daily calcium requirement. Fish, sardines and tinned salmon all are good sources of calcium. The other sources of calcium are tofu, sesame seeds, Soya bean, dried fruits, white bread, green leafy vegetables and pulses. Lady fingers or okra, curly Kale is also reasonably good sources of calcium. Breakfast cereals, alternatives of soya milk, bottled water, and orange juice are also often fortified with calcium.
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