Calcium is a mineral that is present in food, is essential in any diet.

Calcium is a mineral essential in any diet. The human body needs calcium to not only maintain good bones, but to carry out many other important functions such as movement through muscle, blood flow in blood vessels or transmission of messages from the brain by nerves to different parts of the body.


Fruit with Calcium

Whenever we talk of calcium comes to mind milk, yogurt or other dairy products. However, the fruit can also contribute significantly to the daily intake of calcium the body needs to live a balanced diet . While it is true that there are fruits like figs, raspberries, orange or kiwi, which contain appreciable amounts of calcium, are nuts more plant foods rich in calcium, providing a very substitute be considered for those lactose intolerant .

Foods with more calcium

As mentioned above, milk products are a major source of calcium in the diet. However, there are other foods that we can provide interesting calcium dose. These foods include vegetables, like kale, cabbage, spinach or broccoli. Fish, like salmon or sardines, is another alternative to consider. Deserve special mention cereals, despite not having large amounts of calcium, due to high consumption we make of them-such as the case of bread – also contribute significantly to the daily intake of calcium.

How much calcium do you need?

Calcium needs vary by age, sex as well as in the case of women who have already exceeded 50 years. Approximate amounts recommended are the following:

Up to 6 months of age: 200 mg.
7 to 12 months of age: 260 mg.
1 to 3 years: 700 mg.
4 to 8 years old: 1,000 mg.
From 9 to 13 years: 1,300 mg.
14 to 18 years: 1,300 mg.
19 to 50 years: 1,000 mg.
Men 51 to 70 years: 1,000 mg.
Women 51 to 70 years: 1,200 mg.
Over 71 years: 1,200 mg.

Consequences of lack of calcium in the diet

Insufficient calcium consumption in the short term, does not cause noticeable symptoms because the body itself is maintained by taking calcium levels required of the bones. In the long term, however, did not maintain adequate levels of calcium may have an impact on health such as osteopenia (low bone mass), as there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Where deficiencies are more serious associated sequelae are as well, such as seizures and irregular heart rhythms that in some cases can have serious consequences.

The importance of calcium in the diet

In scientific studies have been conducted to determine the effects of the calcium in health can be inferred that its importance is vital for healthy bone mass and prevent osteoporosis. With regard to cardiovascular disease appears to be no direct relationship with calcium. By contrast, with regard to hypertension , calcium appears to reduce significantly the risk for this condition. Moreover, intake of calcium supplements can cause kidney stones, especially in the elderly. This risk does not seem to exist in the case of calcium consumed through food.

Calcium interactions with drugs

Calcium supplements may interact or interfere with other medicines. In the case of bisphosphonates, antibiotics, levothyroxine, phenytoin and tiludronate disodium, calcium interacts reducing the absorption of these drugs. With respect to diuretic can produce different effects. Thiazides may increase the level of calcium in the blood, while continuous infusion diuretics reduce calcium levels in the blood. Antacids produce a loss of calcium in the urine, particularly those containing aluminum or magnesium, while the mineral oil and laxatives to reduce absorption of calcium. The glucocorticoids , meanwhile, when used continuously for months, cause the removal of calcium and, eventually, osteoporosis.