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Calcium is a mineral most often associated with healthy bones and teeth, although it is essential for a wide range of processes including blood clotting, muscle contraction, regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve functions. Pure calcium was first isolated in 1808 via electrolysis of its oxide by Humphry Davy. He gave the element its name from the latin calx (lime), as limestone is one of calcium carbonate’s most common forms on earth (marble is another). Calcium is available as a food supplement is many forms which have varying bioavailability once consumed.

Calcium is present in all dairy products and these also tend to have high bioavailability (easily absorbed sources of it). Calcium can also be found in: soybeans (dry-roasted soybeans or edamame are good), dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, chard and nettles (but not spinach), canned Salmon (because the calcium rich bones are included in the can), figs (particularly when dried), corn tortillas, chickpeas and almonds and walnuts. Also, canned Baked Beans and other beans - cannellini beans contain as much as 62 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Red kidney beans, navy beans, and pinto beans are also rich in calcium. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium.

Calcium is important for those who are growing and for pregnant women but also for older people as it helps prevent osteoporosis. Some studies have shown that calcium has a role to play in reducing blood pressure also.

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