Health

The uses of calcium

By Joan Russell
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Teen with milk
Toddlers and children up to eight need up to three glasses of milk per day, while older children need significantly more at about 1300 milligrams for their daily requirements
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Eat lots of these calcium-rich foods to stay healthy.

Calcium is an important nutrient that we need in our bodies. It has a number of important functions. It helps develop strong bones and teeth and is involved in blood clotting and muscle contractions.


Most of the calcium is stored in our body's bones and teeth. When the calcium levels in the body drop below normal, calcium is taken from the bones and teeth resulting in a severe calcium loss. Low calcium leads to bone fractures and in many older people osteoporosis or porous bones.


Calcium is one of the most plentiful minerals in the human body. The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium properly. Severe calcium loss in children can cause rickets. In adults it can cause muscle spasms, insomnia and irritability.


The use of calcium can reduce high blood pressure, keep your heart regular, prevent gum disease, prevent cancer of the colon and rectum and help blood to clot. Most American do not get enough calcium from foods that they eat. Believe it or not, it's the fifth most abundant element on earth.


Requirements for Children


What are some of the requirements for the use of calcium for children? 


  • Toddlers ages one to three require about 500 milligrams or two glasses of milk daily.

  • Children four to eight-years-old require about 800 milligrams or three glasses of milk daily. 

  • Older children from the age of nine up to 18 require more calcium. They should consume about 1300 milligrams of calcium or four glasses of milk daily.

Calcium is lost in cooking so to retain as much calcium as possible, cook foods in a minimal amount of water. Another tip is to cook foods with calcium for as short a period of time as possible.

Make it even easier to meet your calcium requirements by taking calcium supplements with meals.




 

Way to Get Calcium From Food


Most people need to get an adequate amount of calcium from the foods they eat. Some of the foods high in calcium is plain yogurt, yogurt with fruit, milk that is low fat or non-fat, whole milk, cheese, milkshakes and eggnog. Other important foods with high sources of calcium are salmon, tofu, rhubarb, sardines, spinach, broccoli, baked beans, sesame seeds and almonds. Today there are many products that have calcium added like orange juice, cereal and muffins.


Both children and adults need calcium for strong bones and healthy teeth so eating the above food regularly will help them maintain an adequate level of calcium for good health.


Good snacks for kid's after school or dinner are plain yogurt with some fruit. This is a good source of calcium. Crackers and cheese, a glass of low fat milk in different flavors or cottage cheese with some fruit are great sources of calcium. Try ricotta cheese spread on bread to make a sandwich, or low-fat cream cheese.


Eating calcium does not have to be boring. Tofu is another great source of calcium used in stir-fry meals. It is better to get calcium from foods than taking supplements. Food is more natural and studies of women found that those get calcium from foods have healthier bones than just taking supplements. 


There are many ways to use low-fat milk or milk products more in your diet so you get more calcium:


  • Use low fat milk in the morning in your coffee and cereal. It can be used in hot and cold cereals.

  • Use yogurt as a dip for fruit and vegetables for yourself or kids after school or dinner

  • For a great dessert make pudding using low-fat milk.

  • You can top your favorites soups and stews with low-fat shredded cheddar or other cheeses.

  • Add extra nonfat powdered milk to some of your favorite baking recipes.

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