Calcium is the main mineral present in bones and teeth. It helps to build and maintain bone health throughout life.
Bone is a living tissue; constantly renewing themselves by losing old calcium and replacing it with new calcium. Bones need a constant supply of nutrients such as calcium.
Calcium cannot be produced by the body and must be provided by the foods you eat.
Bone growth is greatest in childhood and teenage years when there are growth spurts – approximately 90% of bone strength is achieved by the age of 18 years.
In adulthood, we naturally begin to lose more calcium from our bones than we can replace and that means bones begin to lose strength.
The more calcium bone strength we can develop during childhood and adolescence the less likely it is that bones will become fragile in later life.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D has an essential role in healthy bone development as it helps the body absorb calcium. Sunshine helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, however in Ireland we don’t get enough sunshine so we need to top up by consuming food and drinks that are a good source of Vitamin D, such as tuna, mackerel, fish liver oils and Avonmore Super Milk.
Calcium Bones and beyond.
Calcium is well-known as a building material for bones and teeth and is also needed for normal muscle function, blood clotting and is involved in energy metabolism and cell division.
Calcium contributes to normal blood clotting
Calcium contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
Calcium contributes to normal muscle function
Calcium contributes to normal neurotransmission
Calcium contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes
Calcium has a role in the process of cell division and specialisation
What Foods Contain Calcium?
Good sources of calcium in the diet are dairy foods such as:
How Much Calcium Do I Need?
The Department of Health’s Food Pyramid recommends the following servings:
• Adults need 3 servings daily
• Children aged 9-18 years need 5 servings daily
What is a serving?
• A large glass (200ml) of milk – full fat, low fat , and fat free are all suitable as they all have similar amounts of calcium
• 1 small carton of yogurt (125ml)
• 1 yogurt drink (200ml)
• 25g low fat cheese (matchbox size piece)