Despite calcium being found abundantly in the body, it is still one of the most common deficiencies in the United States. And that’s quite unfortunate – this mineral is vital for the body in a number of ways. Older individuals (especially those at risk for osteoporosis), women, adolescents, vegans, and those who are lactose-intolerant should pay special attention to their calcium levels and consider adding more foods rich in calcium to their meal plan. Healthy calcium sources include: lentils, beans, almonds, tofu, chia seeds, dark leafy greens, sardines, and moderate amounts of good quality cheese.
Wondering why calcium is so important?
Strengthens your bones
Calcium helps develop, maintain, and strengthen bones – 99% of calcium in the body is located in the bones. It’s important to keep high levels in your bones, because otherwise they could become weakened. When trying to boost your calcium intake for bone health, remember that calcium requires Vitamin D to be absorbed and Vitamin K2 to direct calcium into the bones (and your bones need other nutrients too!). So, be sure to get your nutrient levels checked yearly. Great sources of Vitamin D include: salmon, sardines, egg yolks, mushrooms, and you often need a quality Vitamin D supplement. Great sources of Vitamin K2 include: fermented foods (sauerkraut), liver and egg yolks (some supplements also pair Vitamin K2 and D together).
Helps your muscles contract
Have you ever had a charley horse? One of the reasons these occur is because calcium, and other minerals, are required for muscle contractions. Keep those muscle contractions smooth by having a steady intake of calcium.
Facilitates the clotting of blood
When you get an internal or external injury, blood clots form as a way to protect you from continuing to bleed. These clots require calcium to form.
Supports normal heart function
Calcium helps to maintain the rhythm of your heart and may be important to maintaining low blood pressure.