Want to learn more about the importance of Calcium to your daily diet? Calcium intake is vital to health and wellbeing at all stages of growth and development, from birth right through to old age.
In addition to encouraging the health and growth of teeth and bones, calcium is important for muscle contraction, blood clotting, oocyte activation, transmitting nerve impulses, keeping your heart beat regular and balancing the fluid in your cells.
Because it's so vital to the building and running of your body, calcium is especially vital for children and pregnant or nursing babies. In the elderly population it's very important because it helps to slow the deterioration of the skeleton that comes with age. So how can you make sure you're getting enough of this vital nutrient? Which foods are the best sources of calcium? And how can you make sure you hit your recommended daily intake?
For most fully grown adults, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000 mg. For young children, 800 mg will do, but for children approaching puberty the amount increases to 1300 mg. The amount is also 1300 for pregnant or nursing women, and 1200 for adults over 51. The most obvious source of this nutrient is dairy products which also contain vitamin D to help with absorption. However, recent findings suggest that because the nutrient is required for the digestion of dairy products, thus using up some of the nutrient in the process of digesting the source, these foods might not be the most ideal way of getting this mineral.
Other good sources that don't have this problem include dark green vegetable such as broccoli, kale, dandelion leaves or collard greens. Nuts like almonds and seeds like sesame are good as well, as are beans. Failing these, you might want to try drinks that have been fortified with this mineral, such as soya milk, or orange juice.
When consuming this mineral, try to space it out through the day, because the body can only absorb 500 mg at any given time. If you are concerned about your intake, talk to your doctor about supplements.