Quintessential Calcium

Posted on 04/06/2016

Quintessential Calcium

All we ever hear about is calcium and why it is so important. But just why is it so important, and what is it? To answer the question of what, it is a natural-occurring chemical element that we need for several bodily functions. Yes, it is also the white stuff you have to clean off your bathtub. But, while it is bad for shower heads, it is quite good for your body. 

Most commonly, you'll hear people advocating calcium for strong bones; and that is truly calcium's most important function. In actuality, it offers much more than that. Calcium has been shown to be an important component to nerve health, which is essential for communication throughout the body. The nerves act much like the electrical system on a car by sending signals throughout the body. Calcium keeps nerves functioning properly. 

Calcium's most important function is to grow and strengthen bones and joints. Our bones keep growing until we're in our mid-20's. This is why you always hear people say how important it is for kids to drink milk to grow big and strong; they weren't lying! After they stop growing, calcium is still vital to maintaining our bone health. Bones are porous which means they have several tiny little holes in them.  If someone has low bone density, the bone is weak and brittle, and the bone is more porous. Adequate calcium intake is the best way to prevent low bone density. The condition which is associated with brittle bones from lack of calcium is called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is extreme low bone density and can lead to fractures because of the weakened state of the bones.  

How much calcium a person needs varies at different times of life.  After age 4, we need approximately 1000-1400 milligrams of calcium per day. Older people require about 1000 mg daily. Infants need about 200 milligrams and children age 1-4 need about 700 per day. 

Here is a list of a few foods and drinks to help you get to your daily intake:

6oz Plain low-fat yogurt (310 mg)

8oz Milk (300 mg)

1oz Mozzarella cheese (210 mg)

1oz Cheddar cheese (205 mg)

4oz Cottage cheese (105 mg)

8oz Kale (180 mg)

8oz Fresh broccoli (60 mg)

1 Orange (55 mg)

4oz Baked beans (160 mg)

If you aren't meeting your daily requirement of calcium, supplements are available. Always consult with your physician before starting a calcium supplement, as everyone's needs are different based on their medical history.  If you have any questions about this information or would like to schedule a visit, please contact our scheduling team at 317-844-6444