The one mineral that is widely popular and we all know is calcium. The minute we say calcium, we relate it to strong bones or bone health. But the benefits of calcium go way beyond than just that. Calcium is an essential mineral for the whole body, for it to function and for us to think. Our parents or elder at home have always emphasized on drinking milk twice daily to ensure building strong teeth and bones. When we get older, our teeth and bones grow weaker. So, we must increase our calcium intake through our diet.
If you feel muscle ache, cramps, spasms, or have high blood pressure or loose teeth; these all are the common symptoms of calcium deficiency.
The health benefits of calcium are as follows-
- Strengthens Bones – Calcium prevents very painful arthritis and osteoporosis. It reduces the back pain, keeps the bones in proper shape and thereby strengthens the backbone.
- Cardiac Functions – Calcium ensures the normal contraction and relaxation of our heart muscles and protects them. When calcium level goes down, calcitriol, a hormone is released which increases the blood pressure by contracting the smooth muscles. Adequate calcium is needed to ensure that the calcium ions are able to transmit electrical charges, that keeps our heart beating.
- Weight Loss – You would not have heard but calcium helps in weight loss. It is said that 3 servings of calcium can help lose weight. Calcium reduces stress and keeps your bones strong. This preserves your muscle mass that burns more calories at rest. The stress hormone cortisol generally causes weight gain in the abdominal area; calcium is associated with a smaller waistline specifically. Calcium plays a regulatory role in maintaining normal body weight.
- Prevents Colon Cancer – Recent studies have shown that people who consume calcium-rich diet tend to suppress the growth of cancer polyps, which is a precursor to cancer. If any calcium is left unutilized, then it binds to waste materials and is eliminated; thereby inactivating carcinogenic compounds.
- Prevents Kidney Stones – Kidney stones, as you might know, are nothing but crystallised deposition of calcium (calcium oxalate crystals) in urinary tracts. Recent studies suggest that high dietary calcium intake decreases the risk of kidney stones.
- Controls Alkaline pH level – Calcium helps to balance body pH. The food that we eat produces acid & the stomach has acidic pH whereas the small intestine has alkaline pH. Antacids are used to manage acid indigestion & heartburn. Calcium is very useful in treating indigestions.
- Dental Health – Calcium keeps your mouth healthy by preventing you from gum related diseases. It protects our teeth and gums by fighting against the bacteria and stops an invasion. It also increases the teeth enamel and makes teeth strong.
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- Prevention of Osteoporosis – We all know calcium is important for strong bones. Calcium absorption and bone development occurs until the age of 20 and then starts declining after 30. So, if there is sufficient calcium and vitamin D, it can decrease bone loss while ageing.
Apart from the above listed, calcium regulates blood pressure; relieves PMS symptoms, transports essential nutrients, and also seem to reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes. Calcium is undoubtedly one of the most important minerals in the body. So, make sure that your body gets enough calcium daily.