Why is calcium important? Because it’s one of the building blocks of the human body – it is critical for the functioning of nearly every cell.
Without it your heart couldn’t beat, your brain couldn’t think, and your bones wouldn’t exist.
Where does our calcium come from? It comes from our daily diet, from food such as dairy products, vegetables such as kale, okra, collards, soy and white beans, broccoli and spinach, orange juice, and fish such as sardines, salmon, perch and trout. All these also contain Vitamin D, and this is fortunate because without Vitamin D the calcium cannot be absorbed.
So that means our bodies require both calcium and Vitamin D? Correct – but apart from obtaining Vitamin D from food, we also obtain it through our skins. How? From sunshine. We need about ten to twenty minutes per day out in the sun, some skin showing and no sunscreen used.
Recent research suggests that calcium may help control blood pressure, ease pre-menstrual syndrome, and prevent colon cancer.
A deficiency in calcium is linked to strokes and kidney stones and calcium is needed for digestion, metabolism, hormone production, nerve functions and all kinds of cell activity.
What happens when we don’t get enough calcium from our diet? Well, our body will draw it from our bones, weakening them in the process. Lack of calcium has now become a serious problem in many countries, including the US, because there are certain things in various diets that threaten the body’s calcium balance. These are a high consumption of protein or sodium, the chemicals found in aerated drinks and of caffeine. In fact, many doctors are predicting a large rise in cases of osteoporosis which is the brittle-bone affliction caused by calcium deficiency.
Many people take calcium supplements to ensure their calcium intake is sufficient. These are usually effective, but avoid those made from natural sources such as bone-meal or oyster shells as these may contain contaminants.