Everyone needs calcium for bone and teeth health, muscle control and blood circulation. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t manufacture calcium, it’s absorbed through the food we eat. The body can’t absorb calcium without certain nutrients. Vitamin D is the most important nutrient for calcium absorption. Vitamin D can be acquired both through direct sunlight, through diet and supplements. Other vitamins and minerals which aid the absorption of calcium are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, boron and phosphorus.
There are many foods which are rich in calcium, but the body often finds it difficult to absorb it. It’s best to eat of variety of calcium rich foods and spread them out over the day. This way you avoid eating only foods which inhibit the absorption of calcium. For example, spinach is a great source of calcium, but it contains oxalic acid which can reduce the absorption of calcium if eaten in great quantities.
Too Much Calcium
It’s really difficult for the body to actually absorb too much calcium but, if it does, then it can be deposited in unwanted places, such as the kidneys, causing kidney stones or in the arteries as plaque.
Foods and Liquids to be Avoided
There are various foods and liquids which should be limited in your diet as they can assist in calcium loss: –
- Salt – beware of hidden salt in convenience foods
- Caffeine – make sure you have milk with your coffee and tea to counteract the effect
- Alcohol – inhibits calcium absorption. Drink in moderation or not at all.
- Fizzy drinks
As we get older, our bodies find it more difficult to produce vitamin D from sunlight and absorb calcium. It is therefore imperative that older people, who are not exposed to enough sunlight and/or don’t eat a diet which is rich in vitamin D, are given a vitamin D supplement.