The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis, for muscles to move, and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.
Plant: Kale & other green leafy vegetables, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, nuts, seeds, thyme, oregano, dill, and cinnamon. Most grains (such as bread, pasta, and unfortified cereals), while not rich in calcium, add significant amounts of calcium to the diet because people eat them often or in large amounts.
Animal: Milk, yogurt, and cheese, fish with soft bones such as canned sardines and salmon
NOTE: Calcium is added to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.
« Calcium absorption is best when a person consumes no more than 500 mg at one time. For example, a person who takes 1,000 mg/day of calcium from supplements should split the dose rather than take it all at once.
« The two main forms of calcium dietary supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is inexpensive but is absorbed best when taken with food. More expensive calcium citrate is absorbed well on either an empty or a full stomach. People with low levels of stomach acid (common in people older than 50) absorb calcium citrate more easily than calcium carbonate.