Why is calcium so important
IMPORTANCE OF CALCIUM
Characteristics of calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our organism. The fundamental function of this mineral is the construction of the bones and teeth. Between 1 kg and 1.5 kg of calcium approximately exists in the human body.
It appears essentially in the bones, but there is a small proportion in the teeth and the blood.
The presence of this small proportion in the blood is necessary to realise a series of functions we will see later, to such an extent that, when we do not ingest sufficient amount, the organism takes it from the bones.
WHERE CAN CALCIUM BE FOUND?
The main sources of calcium are:
Animal sources of calcium
The main animal source of calcium are milk and its derivatives (cheeses and yogurts essentially). It is better if these products are skimmed, since they contain less fat and more calcium. In addition, most of milky products at the moment are enriched with calcium.
Yogurt is richer than milk (About 400 mgs by glass of first against about 300 mgs of the second) and cheese even more (The same previous amount in Gruyere cheese would suppose 2176 mgs)
Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) are rich in calcium
Besides milk, another animal product rich in calcium is fish (sardine – it is advisable to eat the backbones – or salmon, which is very rich in this mineral) or eggs.
Vegetal sources of calcium
Vegetables that mainly have this mineral are those vegetables that present dark green color leaves, like spinach (These, nevertheless, are not recommended like calcium sources, because they contain oxalates that block their absorption), broccoli or cabbages
The most interesting sources of vegetable calcium are:
- Legumes: They contain much calcium, as it happens with dry beans or soybeans.
- Cereals: Other rich foods in this mineral are whole cereals (especially oats)
- Nuts: (especially almonds) (The same weight of almonds compared to milk has more than double of calcium).
Another form to acquire this mineral is through supplements. We have the following possibilities:
- Calcium carbonate: In the form of tablets with a 40% of this mineral.
- Calcium citrate: It contains a 25% of this mineral. It is of faster absorption than the previous one and especially recommended for delicate stomachs (people of 65+ years old or those with sluggish stomachs or with little acid)
- Calcium lactate: With a 13% of calcium, it dissolutes faster than the previous one. (Ideal for people who take antacids)
More information on calcium