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Calcium is an important mineral needed for staying healthy and strong. Particularly, it is essential for the good health of bones and teeth. Intake of calcium also regulates the functioning of muscles and nerves, and the pH balance in the blood.
Almost 99 per cent of the calcium content in the body gets stored in bones and teeth. The remaining one per cent is present in the blood, muscles and tissues.
A person deficient in may have thin and weak bones and thus, may also suffer from osteoporosis. There are various symptoms that signify the deficiency of calcium in the body. Some of them include muscle spasms, depression, memory loss, numbness and sensation in different parts of the body.
Besides supplements, calcium deficiency can be cured with the help of dietary changes. So, let us have a look at various foods, which can boost the intake of calcium in our daily diet.
It goes without saying that one should eat calcium rich foods to cure the deficiency of calcium in the body. Some of the foods rich in calcium are milk and dairy products like curd, and cottage cheese. Others include dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens; fortified cereals, orange juice, soybeans and other soy products.
Calcium-fortified foods in particular are helpful in increasing the intake of calcium because they ensure proper absorption of calcium in the body.
Some of the popular calcium-fortified foods include soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals. It has been proven that once cup of calcium-fortified orange juice or soy milk contains about 300 mg of calcium.
Vitamin D is also essential for the body as it helps in proper absorption of calcium by the body. Moreover, it regulates the intake of calcium in the blood. Experts suggest an intake of daily vitamin D, ranging from 200 IUs to 400 IUs.
Sun rays are a rich source of vitamin D. When the body is exposed to sun, it basically synthesizes vitamin D. So, a daily dose of sun exposure for about 15 minutes is a must. However, do ensure that you avoid the harmful sun rays between 10 am to 4 pm.
Having foods rich in vitamin D is another option for proper absorption of calcium in the body besides sun exposure.
Some of the foods rich in vitamin D are fatty fish, fortified milk and cereal, eggs, cheese, butter, liver, shrimp and oysters. One can also opt for vitamin D supplements available in the market. But do ask your doctor before consuming it.
Magnesium is another important nutrient requisite for absorption of calcium by the body. It is so because its metabolism is very closely related to metabolism of vitamin D. It is so because the intestinal absorption and renal excretion of both these ions are dependent on each other.
Several studies too have suggested that magnesium is helpful in rectifying the deficiency of calcium. However, the body is unable to store magnesium inside the body. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate magnesium-rich foods in the diet.
Some of the foods rich in magnesium are spinach, turnips, summer squash, mustard greens, broccoli, avocados, cucumbers, green beans, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, sesame seeds and almonds.
Besides foods rich in calcium, taking a supplement of this nutrient can also help. Calcium supplements are available in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders and liquids. The dosage of calcium supplement depends on the age and health condition. However supplements should always be taken after consulting a doctor. Also, it is suggested that supplements should be taken with food or after a meal for better absorption.
Higher dose of calcium if taken regularly can provide harm to the heart and have other side effects as well. So make sure you do not take a daily dose.
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