Calcium is an important mineral needed for overall health, especially for bones and teeth. Since your body can’t make calcium on its own, it’s important to eat calcium-rich foods on a daily basis to meet your needs.
Foods rich in calcium include:
- Cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar, and cottage cheese
- Yogurt (yogurt with probiotics is not only are high in calcium but also helps with digestion)
- Green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and spinach (since some contain oxalates that prevent calcium absorption, boiling these vegetables may help reduce oxalate content)
- Oranges and orange juice
- Dried fruits such as figs and almonds
- Fortified cereals
- Seeds such as chia seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds
- Sardines and canned salmon (their edible bones are rich in calcium)
- Beans such as soybeans and winged beans
What role does calcium play in the body?
On average, about 2.3% of the body is made of calcium, with 99% of it being stored in bones and teeth to make them strong. Calcium therefore plays a huge role in the continuous process of breaking down and building up your bones.
Calcium in the blood and soft tissues plays a vital role in:
What happens when you don’t have enough calcium?
If your diet does not meet your daily calcium needs, you may develop a condition called hypocalcemia, which is low calcium levels in the blood. This can cause signs and symptoms such as:
What happens if you have too much calcium?
Hypercalcemia occurs when calcium levels in the blood are too high. While mild hypercalcemia may not cause any symptoms, severe hypercalcemia can cause the following side effects:
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Suneja M. Hypocalcemia. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/241893-overview
Agraharkar M. Hypercalcemia. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/240681-overview
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