The heart is an important organ in body as it’s responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body. It also helps remove waste substances like carbon dioxide. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent heart problems, such as cardiovascular disease. But certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, play a specific role in keeping your heart beating.
Calcium has proven vital to controlling muscle contractions in studies.
The NHS states calcium enables our blood to clot normally and regulates our muscle contractions, including our heartbeat.
But Holland and Barrett explains why we need to make sure we’re getting calcium every day.
It says: “We lose calcium everyday via our skin, nails, sweat, urine and faeces.
“Our bodies cannot make calcium, so we need to get enough from our diets. If we don’t, our body can start leaching it from our bones.
“This is fine once in a while, but if it happens on a regular basis, it could eventually lead to weak bones.”
It’s also important the body gets enough vitamin D, as this helps the body absorb calcium properly from food.
The government recommends adults aged 19 to 64 get 700mg of calcium a day.
You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet, if you eat foods such as:
- 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
Calcium is available in supplement form, but the Department of Health and Social Care advises if you take calcium supplements, not to take too much as this could be harmful.
It adds that taking 1,500mg or less a day is unlikely to cause any harm.
Low vitamin D levels or not enough calcium could result in a deficiency – also known as hypocalcemia.
It may not cause any symptoms at first, but as the condition developed, signs may begin to show.
Severe symptoms of hypocalcemia include confusion or memory loss and easy fracturing of the bones.