Learn about the link between olive oil and foods high in calcium, and the importance to your daily diet...
Calcium is a chemical element. It's a gray metal that is found in abundance in lots of different types of rocks. For a metal it's really soft - so soft that it's able to be cut with a knife.
It's also by far the most abundant metal to be found in the bodies of many animals, including humans. It is the principle ingredient that goes into making our teeth and bones.
Because our teeth and bones are made from calcium (or to be more precise, calcium phosphate), we need to eat a lot of food high in calcium when we are growing.
The age at which our bone mass peaks is around 30. So from birth to age 30, our bones grow thicker and stronger. From about age 30 they begin to gradually decline in mass.
Children need it in order for their teeth and bones to grow.
Adults need it to maintain strong teeth and bones. As such, the lack of calcium or deficiency can affect both and teeth formation.
Older people risk osteoporosis if they don?t get enough calcium, which is a condition where the bones become brittle and may break more easily.
The Recommended Adequate Intake for calcium is the highest, at 1300mg/day for people between the ages of 9 and 18. This is the period during which our bodies are both already sizable and still growing rapidly.
The Recommended Adequate Intake then drops to 1000mg/day between the ages of 19 and 50, but rises again to 1200mg/day for people aged 51+.
More calcium is recommended for older people because ingesting more calcium helps to prevent their bones from becoming too brittle, and because age negatively affects calcium absorption.
Today in the US, there is concern that people aren?t getting enough calcium in their diets, and this is people of all ages ? from children to teenagers, adults and the elderly.
So what foods high in calcium we need? Well, it?s no surprise that dairy foods like yogurt, milk and cheese head up the list of foods that are high in calcium content. Two glasses of milk and a cup of plain yogurt will get you the 1000mg that is the recommended daily amount for adults.
Olive oil contains a little calcium, but not enough to count. It contains just 1mg per 100g of olive oil, and this is nowhere near enough to make any difference to your daily recommended intake.
However, olive oil is relevant to another part of the calcium puzzle, which is the calcium absorption. Calcium is unfortunately one of the hardest minerals for our bodies to absorb.
This means that a significant amount of the calcium that we ingest through food simply gets flushed through our bodies without being absorbed into the bloodstream and being transmitted to our bones.
However, certain substances helps the calcium absorption, and this helps us to get the calcium we need from the food we eat into our bloodstreams and from there to our teeth and bones.
For example, vitamin D, which we get from sunlight and from some food, aids calcium absorption. There are also some foods, which helps with the calcium absorption, and olive oil is one of them.
These foods carry calcium from the stomach into the small intestine and aid the body in absorbing it into the bloodstream from there. So eating some olive oil in a meal with foods high in calcium means that the calcium has a better shot at getting absorbed by your body.
While there are many foods high in calcium, it's one of the hardest minerals for the human body to absorb, with only about 10-30% absorption by the body of a full day's intake of dietary calcium. But you don't have to stick to dairy products to get your calcium.
Calcium is found in many types of vegetables such as leafy greens and broccoli. Olive oil contains some calcium, though not a lot - only about 1mg per 100g (for purposes of comparison, full cream milk contains 113mg, and broccoli, 47mg). However, olive oil plays a role in calcium absorption.
This is because olive oil acts as a transporter to carry the calcium into the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.Even so, you can add olive oil to other calcium-rich dishes such as green leafy veggies.