Calcium is a mineral that is essential in a healthy human diet. It is crucial for healthy bones and teeth. Approximately 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium properly. Calcium is also important for normal muscle contraction, hormone secretion and the central nervous system.
Calcium deficiency can lead to many health problems, such as osteopenia, the precursor condition to osteoporosis, and ultimately to osteoporosis itself, with its increased risk of fracture. The older we become, the less efficient our body tends to become at absorbing calcium from food sources. When calcium absorption from external sources becomes less effective, the body will start to strip calcium from its bones. Should this situation continue without being adequately addressed, the bones may become thinner and weaker, leading to the development of osteoporosis.
Today many of our foods are calcium-fortified. Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, cheese, orange juice, cottage cheese, peas, almonds, and spinach. Other good sources of calcium include seaweed, sesame, molasses, beans, broccoli, and sardines.
Health benefits of calcium