1% - helps healthy blood vessels to contract and dilate; muscle function; nerve transmission; and hormonal secretion.
99% - of the calcium we need goes straight to supporting and strengthening our bones and teeth.
That’s what makes it so important in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
The following foods are good sources of calcium:
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products contain calcium which is easily absorbed and utilised.
Fish with bones that are soft enough to eat, like tinned sardines and salmon, contain a high amount of calcium.
A lot of green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, provide calcium. However, some green vegetables contain oxalic acid and phytic acid which can interfere with absorption.
Calcium has been added to a variety of foods, including fruit juices, soya and rice drinks and tofu, making it even easier to consume your daily recommended amount of calcium.
In more detail
Good news first: 87% of all women aged over 65 consume their daily recommended intake of calcium. Unfortunately, that still leaves 13%. Happily, it’s not difficult to add calcium to your diet. Is your mouth watering at the idea of mashing some natural yoghurt into sweet potato, adding grated cheese to a baked potato for lunch, chopping small chunks of brie or feta into a salad and topping it with nuts or enjoying a frothy cappuccino or hot chocolate as a treat?
Also, lower fat cheese, milk and yoghurts are better for you than full versions. As well as reducing your calorie and saturated fat intake, lower fat dairy foods still contain protein that is essential for the growth and repair of healthy muscle and bone. And if you’re lactose intolerant, you could try lactose-free milks or yoghurts with live cultures. Alternatively, take some lactose tablets or drops with dairy foods. You might find it helpful to discuss your individual situation with your doctor to ensure a sufficient calcium intake that works with your health and diet.