9 Signs Your Body Needs More Calcium
Calcium is an essential bone-building nutrient, but what happens if you don't get enough? If these symptoms sound familiar, it's time to get checked by your doctor and ramp up calcium-rich foods in your diet.
You get frequent muscle cramps
You’re sound asleep and the cramp strikes. It’s an inching, creeping pain in your hamstring or calf that awakens you from a deep slumber. Sound familiar? Muscle cramps actually have more to do with calcium than potassium, so instead of reaching for a banana, grab a glass of milk instead.
You’re lacking the sunshine vitamin
In order to absorb calcium, your body must have enough vitamin D—they’re buddies, so to speak. And to get enough vitamin D from the sun, you’d need to be naked outside for an hour everyday (which may upset your neighbours!). As a dietitian, I recommend that everyone get their vitamin D levels tested and stock up on vitamin D-packed foods, like fatty fish.
Here’s the healthiest fish you can eat.
A simple bump breaks a bone
Our bodies stop building bones in our twenties. And in our thirties, the calcium we eat helps to keep those nutrients in our bones. If a simple bump breaks a bone, it’s critical to eat more calcium-rich foods and begin a weight training program.
Find out which factors increase your risk for osteoporosis.
You feast on too much meat
A diet high in protein can cause our kidneys to excrete more calcium. If you follow a very high protein diet, such as keto or paleo, it may be putting you at risk for calcium deficiency.
Here are the signs you’re eating too much protein.
Your teeth are suffering
Calcium and phosphorous team up to keep our teeth strong. Tooth decay is a good indicator of poor calcium intake, because when we don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods our body begins to pull the calcium it needs from our bones and teeth.
Find out the signs of disease your teeth can reveal.
You’re feeling the low-calcium blues
Calcium is linked to depression, and if you’ve been feeling a daily dose of blues, consider the food and mood connection. The DASH diet—which encourages three servings of dairy a day—has been shown to decrease depression.
You’ve ditched dairy
Dietary restrictions—like veganism or paleo—often target dairy, and such restrictions can lead to a calcium deficiency. If you’ve given up cow’s milk, load up on other calcium-rich foods like anchovies, broccoli and almonds.
Here’s what you should know about plant-based foods.
You’re plagued with itchy skin and brittle nails
Our skin and nails are good indicators of health. Dry, broken and brittle nails may give a glimpse into our blood calcium levels. And psoriasis and eczema have both been linked to calcium deficiency. It’s important to get checked by your physician and supplement with calcium citrate.
You suffer from high blood pressure
Calcium is part of our blood pressure regulation. Following the DASH diet can help ramp up calcium in our diet and regulate our blood pressure.
Now that you know the signs you need more calcium, learn to spot the symptoms of protein deficiency.