Calcium is an important mineral in our body. 99 percent of bones is constituted with calcium. Apart from giving structure there are other vital functions. Let's go through it.
Functions of calcium :
- Formation of bones and teeth.
- Plays an important role in blood clotting cascade thus aiding in blood clotting.
- Helps in transmission of nerve impulses.
- Helps in contraction of heart.
RDA ( Recommended Daily Allowance) :
1000 mg ( 1 gm) for adults.
1200 mg for women over 50 years.
1300 mg for children upto 18 years of age.
Sources of calcium :
1. Milk :
Milk is a great source of calcium. It also contains Vitamin D which helps in calcium absorption. A cup of milk contains 270 to 350 mg of calcium depending on the fat content.
2. Curds :
A cup of curds gives you 30 % of daily required calcium intake. It also contains healthy bacteria required for our gut along with vitamin B2 and B12.
3. Cheese :
30 gm of cheese contains 240 mg of calcium.
4. Cottage cheese :
100 gm of cottage cheese contains 83 mg of calcium.
5. Oranges :
Oranges are rich source of calcium. A cup of orange provides 71 mg of calcium which is 7 % of recommended daily intake.
6. Kiwi :
Kiwi is a tropical fruit which gives 34 mg of calcium per 100gm of fruit.
7. Dates :
Each date provides you with 15 mg of calcium.
8. Spinach :
Spinach is rich in nutrients. 100gm of spinach contains 136 mg of calcium
9. Lady fingers :
100 gms of okra contains 77 mg of calcium.
100 gms of broccoli contains 40 mg of calcium.
Sunflower seeds :
100 gms of sun flower seeds contains 78 mg of calcium.
For optimal absorption of calcium choose the unsalted raw seeds as high salt content in sunflower seeds interferes with absorption.
Pumpkin seeds :
100 gm of pumpkin seeds contains 55 mg of calcium. It also contains magnesium which helps in preventing osteoporosis.
12. Eggs :
Eggs contain calcium along with vitamin D which aids in absorption.
Reduced levels of calcium in blood is termed as hypocalcemia.
Symptoms of Calcium deficiency :
Easy fracture of bones
Numbness and tingling sensation in extremities.
If severe deficiency,
However, for people with very low calcium levels , calcium supplementation helps in normalising levels and symptoms.
Maintenance of calcium levels is also important. It may also cause renal stones , heart related problems depending upon the serum levels and other factors.
Aim at healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent hypocalcemia and osteoporosis.
- Caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks,excess intake of sodium interferes with calcium absorption.
- Calcium gets better absorbed in presence of vitamin D.
- It is found that people who eat calcium rich foods in early life has decreased chances of osteoporosis , a condition in which bones become weak and brittle.
- Excess intake of calcium too results in certain side effects. It may cause Renal stones, high blood pressure, constipation. Follow the recommended daily intake levels.
If you observe any symptoms of calcium deficiency, check yourself with doctor . Improve your diet , also expose to sunlight in morning and evening hours as in the presence of vitamin D, calcium gets absorbed.