Welcome to June and calcium! I hope all of you have had an amazing Spring as we transition into this summer. As we are becoming more and more active, we wanted to take a look at calcium. I think that we have all become accustomed to calcium being linked closely to healthy bones and teeth. And while calcium is very important when it comes to the strength of our bones, there are other important health aspects that calcium is an integral part of including our happiness.
The importance of calcium
There is more calcium in our body than any other mineral. And this calcium is stored mainly in our bones and teeth which is why it is so important to good bone health. If we do not provide our bodies with the necessary calcium every day, our bodies will begin to break down the calcium in our bones to be used in other places where it is needed. This can lead to issues such as osteoporosis in older adults and children not reaching their full potential height.
Calcium also plays a vital role in our muscles, nerves and having a healthy heart. It is also one of the main minerals needed in controlling blood pressure (1). We will look at some of these other benefits of calcium throughout our newsletter.
In order to continue to meet our bodies demand for calcium, we must take in a certain amount of calcium through our diet. It is suggested that most adults have a daily intake of 1,000 mg of calcium per day. If you are over the age of 50 for women and 70 for men, then it is suggested that you up your intake to 1,200 mg per day. Finally, children between the age of 4 and 18 should look to consume at least 1,300 mg while their bones are growing (2).
To get the amounts of calcium into our body that we need we often look to dairy foods and beverages like milk, yogurt and cheese. For those of us that are trying to stay away from animal products because of being lactose intolerant or just simply being a vegetarian or vegan, there are a number of other foods that can help you reach your recommended daily intake of calcium. Leafy greens, beans, dried fruit and tofu are all good sources of calcium. Below are some of the foods that have the most calcium per serving (3).
- Yogurt 8 ounces 415 mg
- Fortified Orange Juice 1 cup 349 mg
- Mozzarella 1.5 ounces 333 mg
- Sardines 3 ounces 325 mg
- Nonfat Milk 1 cup 299 mg
- Collard Greens (cooked) 1 cup 266 mg
- Tofu firm ½ cup 253 mg
- Whey Protein 1 ounce 200 mg
- Dried Figs 100 grams 162 mg
- Arugula 1 cup 160 mg
- Fortified Breakfast Cereals 1 serving 130 mg
- Kale cooked 1 cup 94 mg
- Almonds 1 ounce 76 mg
- Chia seeds 1 tbsp. 76 mg
- Broccoli ½ cup 21 mg
It is important to know that getting your daily intake of calcium isn’t enough. You must get your daily intake of vitamin D as well. These two micronutrients work together and vitamin D is needed to help your body absorb calcium. So, it is important that you pair foods that have calcium with foods that provide vitamin D like salmon, eggs, mushrooms, foods fortified with vitamin D or supplements. Check out our Vitamin D post for more information regarding how you can meet your vitamin D needs.
As we mentioned earlier, calcium is required in our body for a number of different functions. The most important of these being bone health. Calcium is also required for regulating our blood pressure, heart rhythm, water balance, immune function and possibly even fat metabolism (4, 5, 6). We also need calcium for our blood to successfully clot when we have an injury (7). Talk about a long list of critical body functions.
Calcium also is an essential mineral that works with serotonin to reduce stress and anxiety. A deficiency in calcium can also lead to fatigue and sluggishness which can lead to irritability and anxiety (8).
We have already discussed how women over the age of 50 need to increase their intake of calcium to 1,200 mg. One of the reasons for this increase is to help with cases of premenstrual related depression in women (9, 10). So not only does calcium help our bodies stay physically fit, it also helps keep us mentally strong by helping with our overall mood and psyche.
This month we would like everyone to take some time to do some self reflection. This can be done in a number of ways. Some people enjoy to journal while others like to just take time by themselves to reflect and ask themselves questions. This can be while out on a walk through nature or just staring out the window. You should find what works best for you. Elena enjoys getting all of her thoughts down on paper through journaling, while I enjoy meditation. If you are having trouble getting started, this website gives a number of questions that you can ask yourself and contemplate.
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Join Our Community: Find out more about our Challenge and participate by joining our private Facebook group, SPHappinessreset.
THIS MONTHS CHALLENGE: For the month of June try to incorporate the appropriate amount of calcium in your daily diet.
2nd Week Challenge: For our physical wellness week we challenge you to slowly drink the appropriate amount of water. This should be eight 8-ounce glasses or a half gallon of water
3rd Week Challenge: For our mental wellness week we challenge you to watch something that makes you laugh. This can either be a favorite TV show or check out a local comedy show.
4th Week Challenge: For our spiritual wellness week we would like to challenge you to spend at least 20 minutes twice this week doing some personal reflection. This can be done through meditation or through journaling.