Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the teeth and bones, the remaining 1% is found throughout the blood, muscle and fluid between cells.
In addition to promoting strong bones and teeth, calcium plays an important role in the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels, nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and the secretion of hormones such as insulin. A lack of dietary calcium causes the body to leach needed calcium from the bones thus leading to osteoporosis.
Some of the best sources of calcium include non-fat yogurt, soy, collard greens, kale and arugula. Calcium absorption is enhanced by prebiotic fiber found in bananas, potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and artichokes. Conversely, calcium absorption is blocked by the oxalates found in calcium rich foods such as spinach and rhubarb.
Research has shown women who get calcium from food have higher bone density than those women who take calcium supplements alone.
~Source: Dole Food Facts.
Dairy products, meats, some seafood like sardines and oysters, beet greens, beans, and peanuts are good sources of calcium. Fatty and protein rich meals on the other hand, as well as carbonated sodas, coffee, smoking and physical inactivity decrease calcium absorption.
Calcium deficiency has also been linked to anxiety and stress, aging and degenerative diseases such as allergies, heart disease, cancer and several other conditions.
For adult men and women a total elemental calcium intake of 1,000 to 1,500 mg/day is recommended. This can come from both food and supplements. There is not really such a thing as calcium poisoning. Very high levels of calcium can occur though and result in appetite loss, nausea , vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, seizures, and even coma.
Aside from food and supplements, the best way to increase bone density is exercise. Even such a simple thing as a good walk is more then enough to keep your bones strong and healthy. Yeah..., I am back on the treadmill, sigh.
Exercise and practice are essential for almost everything; the more we do it, the better we get at it. Walking in the Lord's footsteps may not be easy, but practice makes perfect and with His guidance we will grow more accomplished at it.
The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.