We hear so much about calcium and its importance for bone health, but did you know calcium is necessary for nerve transmission, blood vessel contraction, vein dilation, muscle function, intracellular -(inside the cell) signaling and hormonal secretion.
99% of the body’s calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function.
When the blood level of calcium is low, the body will pull calcium from the bones for the blood stream, because of its necessity for basic body functions.
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for daily calcium intake- required for bone health and to maintain adequate rates of calcium retention are:
|19–50 years||1,000 mg||1,000 mg|
|51–70 years||1,000 mg||1,200 mg|
|71+ years||1,200 mg||1,200 mg|
Food sources for calcium:
Mg per serving % of daily value
|Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces||415||42|
|Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces||333||33|
|Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces||325||33|
|Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces||313–384||31–38|
|Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces||307||31|
|Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces**||299||30|
|Soy milk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces||299||30|
|Milk, reduced-fat (2% milk fat), 8 ounces||293||29|
|Milk, buttermilk, low fat, 8 ounces||284||28|
|Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 8 ounces||276||28|
|Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces||261||26|
|Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***||253||25|
|Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces||181||18|
|Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup||138||14|
|Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***||138||14|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup||100–1,000||10–100|
|Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup||103||10|
|Turnip greens, fresh, boiled, ½ cup||99||10|
|Kale, fresh, cooked, 1 cup||94||9|
|Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup||84||8|
|Chinese cabbage, bok choi, raw, shredded, 1 cup||74||7|
Another source of Calcium is calcium carbonate is found in some over-the-counter antacid products, such as Tums® and Rolaids®. Depending on its strength, each chewable pill or soft chew provides 200 to 400 mg of elemental calcium.
Calcium carbonate is an acceptable form of supplemental calcium, even for individuals who have normal levels of stomach acid.
Ever wonder why a good portion of calcium supplements have added Vitamin D? Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is obtained from food, skin (sunlight exposure) and supplements.
Top Health Benefits of Calcium
- Bone Health
- Cancer Prevention – Studies have shown that consuming calcium rich foods are associated with a decreased risk of colon and rectal cancers.
- Weight management – There has been shown a connection between calcium intake and lower body weight. It is believed that calcium in the diet can bind to fat in the digestive system.
- Blood pressure and heart health- Calcium rich foods help relax smooth muscle, found in the veins and arteries, and possibly can help reduce blood pressure.