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Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Teeth and bones contain the most of it.

Nerve cells, body tissues, blood and other body fluids contain the rest of it.

Function

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the human body. It helps to maintain the good health of bones and teeth.

Intake of the body’s required amounts of calcium throughout life is thought to help prevent the development of osteoporosis.

Calcium is essential for:

• The growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth;
• Blood clotting;
Good communication between nerve cells, facilitating the sending and receiving of nerve signals;< br/> • The release of hormones and other substances in the body;
• Maintaining a normal heart rhythm;

Food sources

Calcium and dairy products

Many foods contain this extremely important mineral, but dairy products are the best source.

Milk and milk products such as yoghurt, cheese and fresh milk contain calcium in a form that is very easily absorbed by the body.

Whole milk, with 4% fat content, is recommended for children aged 1 to 2 years.

Adults and children over the age of 2 should drink low-fat (2% or 1%) or skimmed milk and consume other dairy products.

Removing the fat will not reduce the amount of calcium in the dairy product.

Yogurt, most cheeses and whey are excellent sources of calcium and come in a wide variety of low-fat or completely fat-free varieties.

Milk also contains phosphorus and magnesium, which contribute to better absorption and easier deposition of calcium salts in the bones.

But vitamin D is also needed so that calcium can be used effectively by the body.

And that is precisely why it is recommended to provide children with vitamin D-fortified milk, since people living in areas north or south of the 33rd parallel are not able to obtain their necessary amount of the extremely important nutritional component during the winter months, even if they are exposed to sunlight for a long time.

Other sources of calcium

Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and other varieties of cabbage, mustard, turnip greens, etc. are also a good source of the valuable mineral.

Other foods that will help you meet your body’s calcium needs are:

• Salmon and sardines, but provided they are preserved with their soft bones;

• Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini and dried beans;

• Black molasses, which is more popularly known as low quality port molasses;

Recommended doses

It is desirable that calcium enters the body from foods rich in the valuable mineral, such as dairy products. How much calcium needs to be taken daily through food is determined based on age and gender.

But other factors such as pregnancy and existing diseases are also important.

Infants /recommended intake/

• 0-6 months of age – 200 mg. daily;
• 7-12 months – 260 mg. /daily;

Children and adolescents

• From 1 to 3 years – 700 mg. per day;
• 4-8 years – 1000 mg. per day;
• 9-18 years – 1300 mg. daily;
For adults

• 19-50 years – 1000 mg. daily;
• 50-70 g – for men – 1000 mg. daily, and for women 1200 mg;
• Over 71 years of age – 1200 mg. daily;

During pregnancy and breastfeeding

• 14-18 years of age of the mother – 1300 mg. daily;
• 19-50 years – 1000 mg. daily;

Doses up to 2500-3000 mg. per day are considered by scientists to be safe when taken in combination with food and nutritional supplements for children and adolescents, and for adults 2000-2500 mg.

The list below will help you determine how much calcium you get from food:

• 1 glass of fresh milk /250 ml./ – 300 mg.;
• 200 ml. yogurt – 300 mg.;
• 50 grams of sardines with bones – 240 mg.;
• 6 grams of boiled turnips – 220 mg.;
• 100 grams of almonds – 200 mg.

As mentioned above, vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium. Therefore, when choosing calcium supplements, look for those that contain it in the D3 form.

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