Role of Calcium in Good Nutrition
Calcium is best known for helping to build strong bones and teeth.
Most of the calcium from food goes straight to the teeth
and bones, where it is used for building and maintaining strength.
Calcium is also used throughout the body to help muscles
contract, enable blood to clot, transmit messages along nerves, produce energy, keep the
heart beating, and maintain the immune system.
If calcium intake is low, the body takes what it needs
from the bones. This can cause the bones to become thin and brittle.
Milk and milk products, cheese, small fish (with bones), tofu, dark green vegetables, legumes
Calcium found in plant-based food sources is typically bound
into compounds and less easily absorbed by the body.
It is estimated that the body actually absorbs as little as
20 to 40 percent of the calcium in food sources.
Check with your local market for the recommended daily intake of calcium.
Good intake of calcium is essential throughout life, particularly during childhood and
adolescence, when bones are growing. It is also important as we age, when the bones can
become thinner and more brittle.