Calcium is a very important nutrient throughout lifespan, with particular emphasis on the period of adolescence, when bones grow very quickly, but also in adulthood, when calcium absorption is reduced and, as a result, a greater intake is required in order to cover the body’s needs.
How much calcium do we need daily?
The daily requirements of calcium vary by age and sex and are altered during pregnancy or lactation. The recommended daily needs in calcium and the amount of dairy products’ servings required to cover these needs are presented below.
(1-3 years): 500 mg / day (2 servings of dairy products)
(4-8 years): 800 mg / day (3 servings of dairy products)
The rapid increase in bone mass during adolescence leads to increased calcium requirements.
(9-13 years): 1,300 mg / day (4-5 servings of dairy products)
(14-18 years): 1,300 mg / day (4-5 servings of dairy products)
Which foods are rich sources of calcium?
It is widely known that dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, contain significant amounts of calcium, however calcium is present in other foods (mostly of plant origin) as well. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that all other calcium sources contain significantly lower amounts of calcium compared with dairy products, and the form of calcium they contain is usually not well-absorbed by the body. Non-dairy sources of calcium include spinach, dried beans, nuts, almonds, sesame, dried figs, carob, and fish, such as sardines, salmon, tuna, etc.
What is the relationship between vitamin D and calcium?
It is not enough just to get an adequate amount of calcium, but at the same time it is important to get enough vitamin D as well. The necessity of vitamin D lies in the fact that it enables the body to efficiently use calcium from dietary sources and store it where necessary (in bones, teeth, etc.). The recommended daily needs in vitamin D are presented below.