It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an old man, a woman or a man, as we all need calcium. And because life is stressful most of the times, we tend to do pay little attention to what we eat and to what our body needs. Some people think that if they drink a glass of milk a day they cover the necessary intake of calcium. Think again! Here are some things you need to know about this essential mineral, things that can guarantee you a longer and healthier life.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body
The average male has about three pounds of calcium, the average female, about two pounds. 99% of calcium is found in bones and teeth while the remaining 1 % is found in the soft tissues and watery parts of the body where calcium helps to regulate normal processes of the body.
Calcium may help you lose weight
Although it hasn’t been scientifically proven, it seems that when the body receives calcium from dairy products, it uses fat as an energy source, and it no longer store it. In fact, milk products may help you lose weight as part of a low-calorie diet, or help prevent weight gain.
There are other foods than dairy that contain calcium
It’s true that milk products are very nutrient dense and that they should be part of our daily diet, but there are many other foods that can offer our body those 1,000 mg of calcium so needed by an adult for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Take benefit from eating almonds (75 mg per 1/4 cup); canned salmon with bones (180 mg per 1/2 cup); sesame seeds (90 mg per tablespoon); dried figs (150 mg in six); and broccoli (50 mg per 1/2 cup). Other sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, turnip greens, cabbage, collard, mustard, seaweeds, alfalfa, broccoli and cooked dried beans and peas.
Take Vitamin D supplements
It’s a fact: without vitamin D, the human body will not absorb the calcium intake, whether it is supplemental or dietary. About 10-40% of dietary calcium is absorbed in the small intestine with the help of vitamin D. You can stay for a few minutes in the sunlight or, during the cold season, take multivitamins and supplements of vitamin D.
Change your cooking habits
Sometimes cooking differently can break with monotony and bring not only a better taste, but a considerable intake of calcium as well. For instance, replace the water in making tomato soup with milk; add four tablespoons of skim-milk powder (it equals one cup of milk) to a smoothie or puréed vegetable; add tofu to lasagna; add broccoli to stir-fries; replace your daily coffee with a latte.
Foods that reduce calcium absorption
Spinach and unleavened whole-wheat products reduce the calcium absorption because they contain oxalates and phytates. Also, the consumption of alcohol, coffee, sugar, or medications such as diuretics, tetracycline, aluminum containing antacids, or stress can reduce absorption of calcium.