Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the bones. Calcium is also needed in tooth formation and is important in other body functions. It is one of the most important and most abundant minerals in the human body.

Food Sources of Calcium

Dairy products are the major source of calcium. Eggs, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, legumes, nuts, and whole grains provide calcium but in smaller amounts than dairy products.

Vegan sources of calcium

  • Black-eye peas
    • 1 cup of these black eye peas contain 370 mg of calcium
  • Sesame seeds
    • 2 ounces of sesame seeds contain 560 mg of calcium.
    • one of our favorite sources of calcium is tahini, a ground sesame-seed paste. Tahini is the main ingredient in hummus.
  • Kale
    • Rich in fiber, 3.5-cup chopped kale contains 305 mg of calcium.
  • Turnup greens
    • 1.5 cups of cooked turnup greens contain 300 mg of calcium.
  • Seaweed
    • Seaweed can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk. The calcium in seaweed is also more bioavailable than that of most other sources.
  • White beans
    • 2 cups contain 382 mg of calcium and a significant amount of iron.
  • Firm tofu
    • 1/2 cup of tofu contains 861 mg or 86 percent, of the RDA of calcium. Firm tofu is also a great source of protein.

Absorption of calcium

Only about 10-30% of the calcium in food is absorbed into the body. Calcium must be broken down by the digestive system before the body can use it. Calcium is absorbed into the body in the small intestine.

The absorption of calcium is influenced by such factors as the amount of vitamin D hormone in the body and the level of calcium already present in the bloodstream.

The “fizz” in fizzy drinks like soda and Champagne inhibits the absorption of calcium and takes calcium out of the bones.

Where is calcium stored?

About 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in bone tissue. The remaining 1% of the body’s calcium circulates in the blood and other body fluids.

What are calcium’s main functions?

Calcium in the bloodstream plays an important role in blood clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and other metabolic activities. In the bloodstream, calcium maintains a constant balance with phosphate.

Calcium for people over 50 years old

After your 50th birthday, U.S. government standards suggest consuming  1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily. the 1.2 grams is to combat the decline in bone density that makes older bones weaker and more likely to break. As you age, your bones become more and calcium supposedly fills in the holes.