The calcium-rich diet-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
CALCIUM is among the most popular elements in chemistry. But beyond calcium being a topic in chemistry is the fact that it is among the important minerals in nutrition and health.
According to Vander’s Human Physiology, “calcium homeostasis [balance] depends on the interplay among the bone, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.”
It explains that the constant remodeling of the bone is influenced by the plasma calcium concentration in the body.
In terms of kidney regulation of calcium, it either excretes [through the urine] or reabsorbs [filters through kidneys] calcium depending on the calcium concentration on the blood.
“Re-absorption [of calcium] decreases when plasma calcium concentration [in the blood] increases, and increases when plasma calcium decreases.”
Lastly, in terms of gastrointestinal regulation of calcium, it states that a considerable amount of ingested calcium is not absorbed from the intestine and simply leaves the body along with the feces.
On the other hand, the Fundamentals of Nursing Practice states that micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.
It explains that, “Nutrients are organic and inorganic substances found in foods, and are required for body functioning.”
“Calcium and phosphorus make up 80 percent of all mineral elements in the body,” it adds.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation in the USA informs that calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeps the bones strong later in life.
“Approximately, 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth,” it points.
Health experts advise that calcium needs of individuals change throughout the lifetime.
Teenagers, for example, may need additional calcium to for their rapidly growing bones.
In the similar vein, women may need an added dose of calcium during breastfeeding, pregnancy and after menopause to prevent osteoporosis.
So what are good sources of calcium?
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and even ice cream are rich sources of calcium.
Those with lactose-intolerance may benefit from yogurt or lactose-reduced milks and hard cheeses.
Furthermore, green leafy vegetables especially broccoli are also great sources of calcium. Seafoods like oysters, salmon and sardines have high calcium content.
Lastly, nuts, legumes, liver and tofu are other foods that contain high calcium levels.
Meanwhile, in maintaining a high-calcium diet, the Managing Chronic Disorders have the following tips:
(1) Highly fibrous diet may interfere with your body’s absorption of calcium.
Therefore, avoid combining calcium-rich foods and high-fiber foods in the same meal;
(2) Other foods that interfere with calcium absorption are red meat, chocolates, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, fatty foods, alcohol and caffeine-containing foods such as colas, coffees and teas.
Therefore, these foods and drinks should not be combined with your calcium-rich diet; and,
(3) Calcium is most effective when your body has enough vitamin D. Spending 15 minutes under sunshine especially early morning may actually suffice your daily need for vitamin D.
If sunshine is not an option especially for those who burn easily or just plainly fear skin-darkening, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver may do as these foods also have vitamin D.
How do we know that we are getting the right amount of calcium?
The Basic Diet Therapy for Filipinos writes that the recommended dietary calcium allowances for Filipinos are: 300 milligrams (mg) for infants less than six months and 400 mg for infants seven to 12 months; 600 mg for children 1 to 9 years of age; 700 mg for males and females between 10 to 19 years of age; and 500 mg for adults.
It stresses that pregnant women must receive an added dose of 400 mg calcium.
In general, the Public Health Nursing in the Philippines’ manual has set the following nutritional guidelines for Filipinos: (1) Eat a variety of foods everyday; (2) Consume fish, lean meat, poultry or dried beans; (3) Eat more vegetables, fruits and root crops; and (4) Eat clean and safe foods.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 03, 2013.