Calcium is a right powerhouse of a mineral. As everyone learned as children, calcium, often in the form of that glass of milk we had to drink a few times a day, builds healthy teeth and strong bones. Now we know that on top of these benefits, calcium can also lower the risk of certain types of cancer, especially colon cancer. It can lower blood pressure, ease menstrual problems and lower the numbers of premature births.
Calcium also helps in the proper clotting of blood and keeps the blood from becoming too acidic or too alkaline. It also helps the body use iron and helps activate a bunch of enzymes that helps nutrients get into and out of the walls of the cells.
Most of the calcium a person uses, about 99 percent, is deposited in the bones. The rest goes to the soft tissues. But to work the way it should, calcium has to be balanced with magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamins A, C and D. It’s all about balance and regulation when it comes to calcium!
However, one drawback of calcium, if you can call it a drawback, is that the way the body uses it is fairly inefficient. Calcium is absorbed in the duodenum, the place where the stomach meets the small intestine. Absorption stops when the calcium travels down into the lower intestine and the food contents become alkaline.
Excess calcium is simply excreted. But if the body really needs calcium, it’s capable of using it more efficiently. Foods that can interfere with the ability to absorb calcium include foods that are high in oxalic acids, like green leafy vegetables and rhubarb, but don’t be afraid to eat these foods! A person would have to eat inhuman amounts of spinach or kale to be poisoned by oxalic acid! Oxalic acid doesn’t destroy calcium but makes it insoluble, which puts a person at risk for kidney or gallstones.
Besides those glasses of milk, calcium can be found in canned sardines and canned salmons — don’t forget to eat the bones — mozzarella cheese and dried figs. Sea vegetables are good sources, as are those green leafy veggies. Just eat normal amounts!
What is your preferred way to get calcium? It is very important for bone health, so be sure you are getting it in daily!