What is All the Hype About Calcium?

Faryal Panhwar Jan 13 2015
what-is-all-the-hype-about-calcium

Do you know that calcium is vital for strengthening bones? Thanks to the Olpers and Nesvita ads with their catchy tag lines, we should all know that. But did you know that adequately consumed calcium is a huge “yes” when it comes to weight loss? There seems to be no end to calcium’s repertoire: it optimizes metabolism and a combination of a low-calorie diet and adequate calcium intake can make heads turn! In addition to that, Calcium has proven to help with issues such as PMS and blood pressure.

Calcium 101

Calcium is one of the most common minerals in the body and apart from bone formation, it is essential in nerve signaling, muscle contractions and blood clotting. Calcium is stored in bones and teeth

What Happens When you Ignore Calcium in your Diet?

Have you ever wondered why grandma and grandpa need support with every step they walk? This is due to calcium deficiency that occurs as we age. Calcium deficiency (hypocalcemia) leads to conditions such as osteoporosis (leading to weak and brittle bones); severe symptoms of the deficiency include hallucinations, depression, memory loss and muscle spasm.

It is especially vital for women to monitor their daily calcium intake during the middle age, which is when they are approaching menopause. The decrease in estrogen level is associated with bone weakening and hence the need for calcium.

Excess of Everything is Bad

Yes, even calcium. While we talk about the importance of maintaining a calcium pool in the body, it is just as significant to know about the consequences of excess calcium intake. Such a condition is known as hypercalcemia. It is a rather rare condition associated with lung diseases as well as the inability of your kidneys not excreting enough calcium as waste.

Unleashing Natural Sources of Calcium

Milk: Is “got milk” really synonymous with “strong bones”? Of course it is. The super beverage is loaded with calcium. A recommended three glasses of milk per day are likely to prevent osteoporosis. As aforementioned, calcium helps with weight gain. So go ahead and drink yourself skinny!

Almonds: You know how the elderly in your house count and give you seven almonds every day, telling you they will make you smarter? They’re not wrong. That totka is as true as any! The nutritious dense nuts are packed with high amounts of calcium and several other minerals. Grab a handful at least twice every day and keep that jar refilling!

Seaweed: Fish are not the only critters in the sea. Seaweeds are chock full of calcium, as well as fiber and iodine, that promote proper thyroid function. If you love seaweed, try cooking steamed seaweed prawn rolls and if you want to keep it fancy, try your hand at a classic Misco soup!

Cheese: Cheese is one of the most versatile foods with over 300 varieties available in various flavors and forms! For all those who are lactose intolerant, Cheddar and Swiss cheese contain little or no lactose and are easily tolerable.

Are you thinking about ordering a pizza with promises to reach your doorstep with 45 minutes? Before you do, don’t forget that calories still matter.

So how do you get your daily dose of calcium from cheese and not gain weight? Grate it whenever possible! Choose cheeses which are high in flavor and simultaneously also naturally low in fat. Lastly, needless to say, don’t stand close to the cheese tray mindlessly munching on them calories!

Dark leafy greens: Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and turnips are well-known for their high calcium content.  Broccoli and other leafy vegetables contain approximately similar amount of calcium as any dairy produce. However, when it comes down to absorption of calcium by the human body, these veggies don’t exactly bring their A game. The key is to not solely rely on them as your primary source of calcium, but to mix and match!

Faryal Panhwar

Faryal Panhwar:

Faryal is currently a second year M.B.B.S student at Ziauddin University. She is an active participate in the Model UN where her passion for debate has received her several delegate awards. Seeking to discover the writer in herself Faryal is now working as a freelance writer for HTV.