Despite my best attempts to convince them otherwise, the people in my circle seem to think I’m the one with all the answers. Or maybe they know I’m the one they can con into looking it up for them. Either way, I’m the one they come to when they want to know things. And this week, they wanted to know about calcium.
I didn’t want to tell them I didn’t know much more than I’d learned in elementary school, and I do like to be informed, so I looked it up. I thought calcium was just about bones and teeth. Boy was I wrong.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it’s a good thing, too. About 99% of the body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth. No surprise there. It’s the other 1% that surprised me. Have you ever heard of vasodilation and vascular contraction? Neither had I. What the heck does that mean? In simple terms, it’s the relaxation and contraction of the walls of the blood vessels. This determines how much blood goes to different parts of the body.
Calcium is also essential for nerve transmission and hormone release. How essential? It’s so important to healthy functioning that the body won’t allow the levels in the blood to fluctuate. We get calcium from our diet and the body stores it in our bones. Now, I always thought that bones were just sort of there. You grow, you stop growing, and the bone only changes if you break it and the body needs to repair it. Not so. The body is constantly breaking down and rebuilding bone in order to get the calcium it needs. I think that’s pretty cool. But then I’ve always been a little odd.
So, what are good sources of calcium? Most of us are aware that dairy products are high in calcium. We’ve been told that since we were kids. But certain green vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli are also excellent sources. You can also get calcium from supplements, however The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends that Americans should get as much of their nutrients from food as possible. How much do you need? It varies by age and gender. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (formerly the National Academy of Sciences) has determined recommended daily amounts. You can see what you need by going HERE.
There you go. I hope this information on calcium has been helpful. Remember, this is not official medical advice. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. If you have any questions, please see a physician.