Calcium is vital to strong bones and teeth, but what many people don’t know is that calcium also helps muscles and nerves function properly. Calcium isn’t something that your body can produce itself, so it depends on you to give it the calcium it needs through your diet.
Bones and teeth store about 99 percent of the calcium in the body, while the remaining one percent is found in your blood, muscles, and other tissue. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium from the foods you eat, it will strip it from your bones to use, weakening the bone and causing them to become brittle. A calcium deficiency can eventually lead to osteoporosis or loss of bone mass. Because your bones are continually repaired throughout your lifetime, it is essential to get enough calcium to keep them strong.
It is currently recommended that adults ages 18-50 consume about 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day, while adults ages 51 or older need 1200 milligrams. It is also important to note that Vitamin D aides in calcium absorption, so getting enough Vitamin D is also important.
The best sources of calcium are dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Diary products often come with a high fat content, so buy non-fat, or look for other sources. You can also get calcium from green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, kale and spinach, or beans and peas. If you are still having trouble meeting your calcium requirements you can always take a calcium supplement, but eating calcium rich foods ensures you consume a lot of other vitamins and nutrients as well. A well balanced diet is the best way to know if you consuming all of your daily needs.