by Vishwa Kiran
Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, among many other important functions. Because calcium has so many important jobs, it’s important to get enough of it in your diet.
Most of the calcium in the body is present in the bone but without some calcium in the blood you would be dead. So, under normal conditions, hormones carefully regulate blood levels of calcium even if you consume no calcium, the blood gets it from your bones, which is a major factor in the development of osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time).
Calcium helps your body with:
Building strong bones and teeth.
Sending and receiving nerve signals.
Squeezing and relaxing muscles.
Releasing hormones and other chemicals.
Keeping a normal heartbeat.
Your body gets the calcium through the foods you eat or the supplements you take.
Calcium in the diet
In a more absorbable form, milk and other dairy products are the easiest way to inject calcium into your diet. Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium. Yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk contain a form of calcium that your body can absorb easily. Milk products are the only good source of calcium because other sources either don’t contain enough calcium or are poorly absorbed. The lactose in the milk (milk sugar) and vitamin D added to milk help absorption of calcium; however, this is a problem for people who are deficient in lactose, the enzyme that digests lactose. Such individuals are “lactose intolerant,” and have symptoms including cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea following the consumption of milk or milk products.
In any case, there is no getting around the fact that without milk products you will have very tough time getting adequate calcium by diet alone, so it is a good idea to supplement if you can’t drink milk.
Sources of calcium are listed below-
1. Milk products.
2. Salmon and Sardines, or any fish where you get some bones.
4. Green vegetables- asparagus, fresh green peas, broccoli, cabbage, okra (except Spinach).
5. Almonds and Sesame seeds.
6. Green tea.
Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bone,” is the degeneration of normal bone mineral density, mass, and strength. This process results in thinner bones and increases their susceptibility to fracture. Bone density is of great importance to the dancer because it forms the crucial base of skeletal support. With decreased bone density, the dancer is subject to fractures, scoliosis and other skeletal problems.
“The potential for this disease begins in a person’s twenties and dancers are definitely in one of the highest risk categories primarily because of their light body and low caloric intake. In dancers’ favor is the fact that dance provides weight- bearing physical activity, which is an important defense against osteoporosis. However, poor dietary practices among dancers increases the risk for bone problems.
You are only a “bone builder” until your mid- thirties, after that you “borrow” calcium from your peak bone mass.
So, development of a high peak bone mass is very important in preventing the onset of osteoporosis. Once you have osteoporosis, there’s very little you can do about it, so it is essential that dancers build and maintain their bone ” bank accounts” in their teens, twenties, and early thirties.
Calcium is important in keeping- up bone density. As with any other nutrient, absorption is a pivotal factor. Two hormones regulate calcium absorption: parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin is released when there are adequate levels of calcium in the blood, and allows calcium to stay in the bone to make minerals. Because of this hormonal control, dietary intake of calcium is of critical importance.”
Quoted from the book “Diet for dancers” by Robin D. Chmelar and Sally S. Fitt.
Even in the early years of their career, dancers must be aware of the calcium levels in their body and not neglect its importance. Osteoporosis will take its effect in the later part of your life, if enough calcium is not consumed and stored in your bones.