Kate's Cuisine

Jun 12 2009

Calcium

We all know how important calcium is from the time we are born it seems. It’s no secret that calcium is a huge part of the proper development of bones and teeth and because of this, it’s vital that children receive enough calcium because the early years of bone and teeth development are so vital to their health. It’s also critical that we get enough calcium as we grow up to maintain that health and as we get older to get even more because our bones and teeth begin to get so brittle and delicate at this time. But even though it plays such a huge part in this part of our development and health, calcium does even more.

Calcium helps our muscles contract, our blood clot, secretes enzymes and hormones, and also helps with nerve function. Calcium also helps our blood vessels contract and dilate, which is vital to all parts of health. In addition to all of this, calcium is also thought to help protect against certain diseases and conditions such as high cholesterol, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Because calcium is such a vital nutrient, it makes sense that we would need a lot of it every day. Men and women should both make sure they get 1000mg/day and once over the age of 50, that should be increased to 1200mg/day. Dairy products are the best sources of calcium but it can also be found in many fruits and vegetables. Kale, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, turnips, bok choy, parsley, and some types of seaweed are all great sources of calcium. Canned fish, especially the type with bones still in it, are also great ways to get more calcium and beverages such as orange juice and soy milk are often fortified with calcium.

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