Definition

Calcium is an essential mineral that serves multiple functions in the body, including facilitating muscle function, nerve transmission and hormone secretion, in addition to being a major component of bones.

Health considerations

Adequate calcium intake is essential to maintaining good bone and teeth health, preventing osteoporosis, and is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity and being overweight. Adequate intake may improve PMS symptoms and may be protective against colorectal cancer. Low calcium intake increases risk of hypertension and insulin resistance.

Keep in mind

Vitamin D increases calcium absorption, while excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sodium as well as high protein intake can impair absorption or deplete stores in the body. The calcium in most leafy greens is as bioavailable as that in dairy products, though plant compounds such as oxalic acid and phytic acid may impair absorption. Individuals who avoid animal sources of calcium should be careful to monitor their overall intake.

May be found in

Dairy products, milk, cheese, fortified non-dairy milk and cheese, soy milk, tofu, canned sardines with bones, canned salmon with bones, calcium-fortified cereals and juices, sesame seeds, tahini, broccoli, collard greens, spinach, kale, turnip greens, navy beans, blackstrap molasses, almonds, calcium carbonate antacids, yogurt, nutritional supplements

References

Dietitians Canada
Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine
National Institutes of Health 

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