6 AUGUST, 2013

Everything you need to know about calcium

Calcium is an essential ingredient for the good health of the bones and teeth, as well as, the proper function of our muscles, heart and immune system. Insufficient calcium intake during childhood prevents the creation of a robust frame and increases the probability of osteopenia and later, during adulthood, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis’s symptoms are joint pains and fragile nails.

Recommended daily dose

Age                                                            Calcium (mg)
Infants and children under 10                        500-700
Children and teens, ages 10 to 18                 1300
Adults from 19 to 65 years old                      1000
Women during menopause                           1300
Adults 65+ years old                                    1300

As we all know, the best sources of calcium are dairy products, in first place being the category of cheese, especially yellow cheeses: graviera, kefalograviera, kefalotyri, parmesan and  Emmental. However, other cheeses also provide a significant amount of calcium (i.e. feta cheese, anthotyro, mizithra), as do other dairy products, such as yogurt and milk. Calcium sources outside the dairy family include sesame, tahini, fish, such as sardenes and vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli.

For maximum absorption of calcium from the body

It is important to know that:

  • In order for our gut to absorb calcium and be deposited in our bones, a synergy with Vitamin D must occur.
  • There are substances that interfere with calcium absorption, such as phytic acid, oxalic acid and tannins. Also, the high intake of protein, salt, caffeine and alcohol, as well as smoking, are restraining factors when it comes to the absorprtion and the bone deposition of calcium.
  • Calcium is best absorbed by the body during the night, so it is advisable to make sure to get a serving of dairy (yogurt) or one dose of supplements before we sleep. In order to achieve greater absorption of calcium.

When calcium intake from food sources is not enough

There are many cases where it is deemed necessary to take calcium supplements. When the patient does not receive enough calcium from their diet (for example, because they are not used to or do not like dairy products), when they have osteopenia and when the gut does not absorb calcium from food (for example, due to age – usually exhibited in individuals over 70).

These recipes with Horio feta cheese and Horio graviera will add up to your daily dose of calcium and your appetite!

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