The most commonly known health benefits of calcium are strong and healthy teeth and bones. There are, however, many other health benefits of calcium. It is a mineral that is essential to the proper clotting of blood and for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including the heart which would cease to function if the body were void of calcium. Iron is utilized and vitamin B12 is absorbed with the aid of calcium. Other health benefits of calcium include the regulation of cell permeability and blood pressure, increased neutrality of body fluids and a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Consuming dairy products is one of the best ways to enjoy the health benefits of calcium because these foods are rich in the mineral. Some elderly people have trouble tolerating milk because the stomach generally does not produce sufficient acid to begin proper digestion. This can be remedied by ingesting a natural acidic substance such as lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. A sweet-and-sour beverage can be as simple as a glass of water to which a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and a teaspoon of honey has been added. Dark green vegetables such as collard, turnip and mustard greens also are excellent sources offering the benefits of calcium.
People with compromised immunity are advised to boil commercial milk, even if it has been pasteurized, for at least 60 seconds before drinking it. Lactose intolerance usually can be treated by taking lactase in pill or liquid form or adding it to milk. Homogenized milk has been linked to the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, so milk that has been only pasteurized, contains at least two percent fat and comes from cows that have not been raised on antibiotics or growth hormones is the safest choice. Citrus fruits and figs also are healthy foods that should be consumed for the benefits of calcium that they offer.
All age groups should be concerned about getting the health benefits of calcium. Teenagers, pregnant and lactating women and women over 52, however, need higher amounts of this mineral to help guard against health conditions such as osteoporosis. Consuming a diet consisting of a variety of organically grown, natural and unprocessed foods is the best way of reaping the health benefits of calcium.
A Harvard University study on nutrition revealed that some synthetic vitamins offered no health benefits against cardiovascular disease. The research revealed that when these same nutrients were obtained from food, they offered cardiovascular as well as other health benefits. This study is among those that suggest that nutrients, including calcium, should be obtained from foods to reap health benefits.