Calcium Supplement Benefits you need to know
Calcium supplement benefits : We all want to be strong and healthy throughout our life. To stay strong and conducting healthy living, it is necessary to strengthen our bones first. Calcium supplements are very much essential to build strong, dense bones in your adult and to keep them strong and healthy as you age. The information included here will help you learn about calcium supplement benefits – the most important nutrient for your health.
What is Calcium and what it does in our body?
Calcium is one type of vital mineral that is very much necessary to sustain a healthy life. In addition to strengthening bones, it helps in blood clotting, our muscle to contract and expand easily, and most importantly our heart to beat, for which we all are alive. From all these activities, we can realize that how calcium is a critical nutrient in our body.
But our body can’t create it on its own. Each day we lose calcium through our skin, nails, sweat, and urine. So, it is very much important to get enough of it from our daily food. If you don’t get the calcium that our body needs, then it takes it from our bone and our bones become weak gradually.
The body gets the required calcium in two different ways. One is by eating calcium rich foods or calcium supplements. They include dairy products, dark leafy greens, dried beans etc.calcium supplement normally contain vitamin D. It is more beneficial for bone health to take calcium along with vitamin D rather than calcium alone.
The other way the body gets its required calcium from bones. When the availability is too low in our body, then it pulls it from bone. Normally the calcium that is taken from bones will be replaced later. But this should not happen frequently.
How Much Calcium Do You Actually Need?
According to the Institute of Medicine (IoM), we should take calcium daily at the following amounts:
- 700 milligrams (mg) per day for age 1-3 years
- 1,000 mg per day for age 1-3 years
- 1,300 mg per day for age 9-18 years
- 1,000 mg per day for age 19-50 years
- 1,000 mg per day for breast-feeding or pregnant teenager
- 1,000 mg per day for breast-feeding or pregnant adult
- 1,000 mg per day for age 51-70 years (male)
- 1,200 mg per day for age 51-70 years (female):
- 1,200 mg per day for age 71+ years
Top 11 Calcium-Rich Foods
The primary calcium rich foods are dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. But, many non-dairy products are also high in this mineral such as seafood, leafy greens, legumes, dried fruit, tofu and various foods that are fortified with calcium.
Here are some calcium rich foods, many of which are non-dairy.
Seeds are tiny in size, but it acts like a powerhouse. Some are rich in calcium such as poppy seeds, sesame, celery, chia seeds etc.
Seeds provide protein as well as healthy fats. For example, chia seeds are full of omega-3-fatty acids which are plant based.
Most cheeses are excellent sources of calcium as well as protein. From a recent study, it was found that it lowers the risk of heart disease also. Another study demonstrated that beating cheese daily lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome which raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
But remember that full fat cheese loaded with fat and calories. Most cheese also contains sodium, to which some people are sensitive.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and rich in live probiotic bacteria, which is healthy and provide various health benefits.
Greek yogurt is also protein rich food but provides less calcium than regular yogurt. Adding yogurt to your diet, it increases overall diet quality and metabolic health. People who eat yogurt usually have a lower risk of metabolic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
4. Sardines and Canned Salmon
Sardines and canned salmons are high-quality oily fish and loaded with calcium as well as omega -3 fatty acids, which is good for your heart, brain, and skin.
While most of the seafood has mercury contents, both sardines and canned salmons have a high level of selenium, which prevents and reverses the effect of mercury toxicity.
5. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are full of fiber, protein, and microelectronics. They are also full of iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, potassium and most importantly calcium. That’s the reason why plant rich diets are healthy. Researchers also found that beans help in lowering the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Out of all the nuts, almonds are also included in calcium rich foods. It also provides 3 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), as well as fats which are healthy and protein. In addition to that, they are a good source of magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E. Eating nuts lowers the blood pressure level, unhealthy fat and other risk factors of metabolic diseases.
7. Whey Protein
Whey protein is milk-based food and an excellent source of protein, calcium and full of quickly digested amino acids.
Whey protein is generally using for weight loss as well as for improving blood sugar level.
8. Some Leafy Greens
Dark coloured, leafy greens are incredibly healthy, and some of them are highly rich in calcium. Collard greens, spinach, kale all are included in the list.
Some vital nutrients are very much important for our body but can’t be prepared by its own. Some varieties of leafy veggies are high in oxalates, which are naturally occurring compounds that bind to calcium. Spinach is one example among them. Although it has a high quantity, as compared to kale, collard greens its calcium content is less.
9. Fortified Foods
Our body can’t absorb all the calcium in one day. That’s why it is good to spread our intake throughout the day. And intaking fortified food is another excellent way to obtain it. Flour and cornmeal also examples of fortified foods. Some breads, tortillas, and crackers also belong to calcium rich foods.
10. Fortified Drinks
Not only fortified foods but also fortified drinks are loaded with calcium. Its 7 grams of protein makes it the non-dairy milk that’s most nutritionally like cow’s milk. Other types of plant-based milk, especially from nuts and seeds-based milk are fortified with even higher levels of calcium.
Milk is the best and cheapest among all calcium rich foods. One cup (237 ml) of cow’s milk has approximately 276–352 mg, depending on whether it’s whole or non-fat milk. In dairy, it is absorbed well. Additionally, milk is a good source of protein, vitamin A as well as vitamin D.
Calcium supplements are needed for whom?
Even after conducting a healthy diet, you may find calcium deficiency in your body if you:
• Follow a strict vegan diet
• Have lactose intolerance and inhibit dairy products
• Having large amounts of protein or sodium, which can excrete more calcium from your body
• Have osteoporosis
• Conducting long-term treatment with corticosteroids
• Have certain bowel or digestive diseases that reduce your ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
In all these situations, calcium supplements may feel your calcium requirements.
What happens if I have calcium deficiency?
In the short-term insufficient intake of calcium do not show any symptoms, because the needed calcium is taken from the bone. But in the long term, intaking below recommended level show many health problems such as causing low bone mass(osteopenia) and increasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Serious calcium deficiency symptoms include numbness, tingling of fingers, convulsions and abnormal heartbeat that may lead to death if not corrected in time. These symptoms occur in people having serious health problems or who are undergoing certain medical treatments.
How calcium affects on health?
Researchers are studying vigorously to understand how it affects our health. Here are some examples what they have found.
Bone health and osteoporosis
Bones need plenty of calcium and vitamin D during one’s childhood and adult age till he/she reaches the age of 30. After that bones lose it gradually, but they can reduce these losses by getting recommended amounts of calcium throughout their childhood and adulthood days by having a healthy and active lifestyle.
Osteoporosis is a dangerous disease of the bone in older adults, especially women. In this disease, the bones become porous, fragile and more prone to break. It is a serious issue for more than 10 million adults over the age of 50. Proper intake of calcium rich foods and vitamin D, as well as regular exercise, are very much essential to keep bones healthy throughout life.
Many studies demonstrated that whether a diet high in calcium supplements might lower the risks of cancer of the colon, rectum or increase the risk of prostate cancer. It has no clear answer. So, more research is required to clear all these issues.
From some studies, it was found that getting sufficient calcium might decrease the risk of heart disease and heart stroke but from other studies, it was demonstrated that high amounts of calcium, especially from supplements might increase the risk of heart disease. From more studies, it was concluded with the final statement that as longs intakes are not above the upper limit, it has no harm.
High blood pressure
It can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure known as hypertension. Eating fat-free and low-fat dairy products, vegetables and fruits lower the blood pressure level.
Preeclampsia is a serious issue commonly found in a pregnant woman. In this condition, a pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure and kidney problems that cause the protein to spill into the urine. It is the primary cause of sickness and death of pregnant women and new-born babies. The woman who takes less than 900 mg of calcium per day should take calcium supplements (1000 mg or more per day) during pregnancy to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.
Kidney stones are full of calcium oxalate. Some studies have found that intake of calcium supplements in higher amount create a greater risk of kidney stone, especially among older adults. But calcium rich foods do not cause the kidney stone. For most of the people not drinking enough water is the main reason for the kidney stone. So, take water sufficiently.
Several studies have shown that calcium-rich foods or supplements help to reduce the body fat, that’s why it is capable to reduce the body weight over time.
Can calcium be harmful?
Intaking too much can create constipation problem. It might also absorb the required iron or zinc. In adults, too much intaking (supplements not food) can increase the risk of kidney stone. Some studies have shown that individuals who consume more amounts of calcium might have suffered from prostate cancer and heart disease, but more research is needed in this regard.
The final quote
Calcium is an essential mineral that is very much necessary to sustain a healthy life. The primary calcium rich foods are dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. But, many non-dairy products are also high in this mineral such as seafood, leafy greens, legumes, dried fruit, tofu and various foods that are fortified with calcium.
Talk with your healthcare provider about intaking of it in the proper amount and must add calcium-rich foods to your weekly shopping list now onwards.