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Human Body is erected on the framework of bones. Bones, which support movement of the body, bones that stick to the muscles and hold them together in shape, bones that help us to have posture suitable for our body to be held erect while standing or sitting. Imagine if we didn’t have these bones. Our body would just be a chunk of fats and muscles. The article discusses in detail about the basic nutrient of bones- calcium rich foods.
The skeletal system is made up of bones and teeth. The normal human body has 206 bones which are needed for a variety of functions within the body. Bones are not static, which means they are constantly changing shape and composition to meet the body’s needs. The role of bones extends beyond the function of giving your body its shape. There are many reasons why bones are important to the body.
One of the most important functions that bones have in our body is providing support and structure. Aside from teeth, bones are the hardest and most rigid structures in our body. It’s quiet obvious that without bones the human body would essentially be nothing more than a shapeless blob of tissue. Wobbling, when trying to move and acquiring no shape. Bones are strong but light, which gives the body support and shape without weighing it down.
The skeletal system protects the vital organs throughout the body. This protective role is most obvious for the skull and the backbone (vertebrae) as these bones protect the central nervous system. This protective role is especially important because the central nervous system controls the rest of our body and is very fragile. Not to forget, they protect vital organs such as your heart, and they even produce blood that is used by your body.
Motion and Mobility
Our skeletal system also connects closely with the muscle system in our bodies and is often termed as the musculoskeletal system. The muscles that we use for voluntary movement all require bones to work properly. Muscles are attached to bones by bands of tissue called tendons. Bones are necessary because the muscles need something to attach to in order to contract and cause motion.
After this overview of the importance of bones in our body, we come next to the discussion of what could keep these bones healthy to perform all of these functions vital to our life. It’s none other than our very own calcium. We’re all aware that calcium acts like the life line of efficient bone functions, since the time we’ve become capable of understanding the importance of bones.
Calcium is required for the normal development and maintenance of the skeleton as well as for the proper functioning of neuromuscular and cardiac function. It is stored in the teeth and bones where it provides structure and strength. It is said that the bone mass increases by about sevenfold from birth to puberty and a further threefold during adolescence and then remains stable until about age 50 in men and until the menopause in women. Calcium plays an integral role in the secretion of a number of hormones and enzymes that are vital for your body functioning efficiently. Low dietary intake of calcium as a risk factor for developing high blood pressure. Conversely, dietary calcium intake has been shown to help lower blood pressure in persons with hypertension.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is 1000 mg per day for most adults. It is also recommended that women over 50 and everyone over 70 years of age must get 1200 mg per day, while children of the age group of 4-18 years are advised to get 1300 mg per day.
Here are 16 absolutely Calcium Rich Foods that meet up your daily requirements of Calcium for different age groups:
Calcium Rich Foods
- MILK: We have all been told innumerable times since our childhood that milk is good for bones because it contains calcium. This is the best way your mothers used in to blackmailing you to gulp down a glass full of milk and you did that very reluctantly for your bones. Drinking two glasses of milk per day prevents osteoporosis which in common terms means weak bones. Your weak bones may cause you to become more prone to fractures. Drinking Milk clearly prevents you from the danger of breaking your bones easily and thus strengthens your bones. Not only milk, all kinds of dairy products are considered to be rich in Calcium. To name a few, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc are your dairy products providing calcium to your bones.
- GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: Green leafy vegetables are not only good for your eyes, the also provide you with calcium. To name a few, broccoli cabbage, okra are considered to be rich in calcium. However spinach is not a source of calcium. It is rich in iron.
- SEEDS: They are tiny nutritional powerhouses. The ones rich in Calcium are poppy seeds, sesame, celery and chia seeds
- SEA FOOD: Fishes like Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with calcium, thanks to their edible bones. They are considered to be source of 35% of the RDI for calcium.
- BEANS AND LENTILS: Beans and lentils are high in fiber, protein and micronutrients. Some varieties also have decent amounts of calcium. One cup of Cooked wings provide around 25% of the RDI for calcium.
- ALMONDS: of all the nuts, almonds are the highest in calcium. An ounce of almonds or about 22 nuts delivers 8% of the RDI. Almonds also provide fiber.
- RHUBARB: Rhubarb has a lot of fiber, vitamin K, calcium and other similar amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
- FORTIFIED FOODS: Fortified foods are also rich source of calcium. Some types of cereal can deliver up to 1000 mg per day which would amount to 100% of RDI per serving. However, not the entire amount of calcium present can be absorbed at once by your body. Flour and cornmeal can also be fortified with calcium.
- TOFU: Tofu is a healthier alternative to our paneer (cottage cheese). It is made from soy milk and is rich in calcium so much so that it provides 86% of the RDI of calcium.
- FORTIFIED DRINKS:If you are a lactose intolerant or a vegan or simply don’t drink milk for any reason, you can have drinks fortified with calcium. Fortified soy milk may have around 25 to 30% of calcium. Fruit juices like orange juice can also be fortified with calcium as much as 50% of the RDI
- FIGS: Dried figs are rich in antioxidants and fiber. They contain more calcium than you regular dried fruits. They are also a source of Vitamin K.
- BANANAS: Bananas are one of the most cost efficient and safe to consume fruits available in the market. They are also available in all seasons. Thus grabbing around 5mg of calcium per 100 gms of Bananas becomes very easy for everybody. Apart from calcium, bananas are known to have good effects of your digestive tracts and are rich in potassium also.
- KIWI: Kiwi is a lip smacking tropical fruit seasonally available in India. It provides 34 mg of calcium per 100 g serving.
- DATES: Dates are rich in hemoglobin and also provide around 12mg of Calcium.
- PRUNES: Prunes, though not commonly available in the Indian markets, can be found in malls and big Departmental Stores. They provide upto 75 mg of Calcium in a single serving.
- MULBERRIES: Mulberries, though not commonly available in our markets, are a rich source of calcium. As rich as 55mg of calcium can be found in 1 cup of mulberries. Grab them wherever you find them. Here’s an image of mulberry to help you recognize it.
If you are lactose intolerant or a vegan, here is a list of calcium rich vegan food options.
Increasing the above fruits and vegetable intake positively impacts your bone health by providing essential micronutrients and antioxidants that promote healthy bone formation and good health. Develop a habit of enjoying the foods in the list, organic when possible. Not only will you experience the benefits of calcium, but other health perks that accompany a diet rich in fresh fruits as well.
Calcium is also available through taking medicinal supplements. Doctors recommend Calcium Supplements specially to expecting women, deficient children, women above the age of 35 years and men above the age of 50 years who cannot synthesize the minimum calcium needs of the body from the food that they eat. For any such calcium deficiency problems, it is advisable that you consult your physician and get yourself prescribed medicines suiting your body needs.