Health Topics

Healthy Living

December 2011
Calcium For Health
Dr Panchali Moitra
Calcium is a nutrient that is essential for strong bones and for supporting the body's critical functions such as controlling the blood pressure and maintaining our heartbeat. The preferred way to get adequate calcium would be through a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Calcium-rich foods
Add calcium in your diet through milk, milk products, whole pulses (rajma, chana, whole mung) and dark leafy vegetables.
  • Drink a glass of raw carrot (six) and spinach (50gm) juice everyday. It contains approximately 300mg of calcium and is also packed with antioxidants and fibre.
  • Include about 2-4 tablespoon of white or black sesame seeds daily (100gm contain 1400mg of calcium) in your diet. 
  • Other good calcium sources include sardines, methi and sarson leaves, radish, broccoli, soy beans, figs and calcium-fortified cereals.
For optimum absorption of calcium from food or supplements, it is important that we include adequate Vitamin D, phosphorus and Vitamin C in our diet.
  • Vitamin D from soaking in the morning sun for 20 minutes
  • Phosphorus from meat, fish, eggs and milk
  • Vitamin C from fortified breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, amla and coriander juice
  • Limit animal protein to twice or thrice a week to prevent urinary calcium loss. When we eat too much of meats (especially red meat), it makes our blood acidic and the body immediately reacts to this change of pH in the blood by pulling out the calcium from the bones.
  • Cut down on soft drinks as they contain calcium depleting phosphoric acid.
  • Taking calcium supplement can help make up for the gap in our diets, and ensures that the daily calcium requirement is met. The typical supplemental doses may vary from 500–1000mg daily depending on an individual’s age, lifestyle and underlying medical conditions.
  • Estrogen therapy is often recommended for postmenopausal women to promote calcium absorption and check bone loss. The duration of estrogen use needs to be closely monitored as high blood calcium levels have been linked to increased hardening of arteries and a greater risk to heart attacks.

: Complications related to high calcium intake or toxicity concerns are quite unlikely in normal individuals having no urinary loss of calcium and no history of kidney stone or heart problems. But, it is best to consult a physician before taking any supplements.   
Dr Panchali Moitra is Nutrition Expert, weight Management Consultant