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There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral, and it has several important functions.
- helping to build strong bones and teeth
- regulating muscle contractions, including heartbeat
- ensuring that blood clots normally
A lack of calcium could lead to a condition called rickets in children or osteoporosis in later life.
Good sources of calcium
Good sources of calcium include:
- milk, cheese and other dairy foods
- green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach
- soya beans
- soya drinks with added calcium
- bread and anything made with fortified flour
- fish where you eat the bones – such as sardines and pilchards
How much calcium do I need?
Adults need 700mg of calcium a day.
You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet.
What happens if I take too much calcium?
Taking high doses of calcium (over 1,500mg a day) could lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.
What does the Department of Health advise?
You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
If you take calcium supplements, don't take too much. Taking 1,500mg or less a day is unlikely to cause any harm.
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