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Calcium

Calcium

Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach), soya beans, tofu, soya drinks with added calcium, nuts, bread and anything made with fortified flour, and fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards.

You should be able to get all the calcium you need from your daily diet. Adults need 700 mg a day.

Calcium has a number of important functions. For example it:

* helps build strong bones and teeth
* regulates muscle contraction, including the heartbeat
* ensures that the blood clots normally

Calcium may help to lower high blood pressure and to protect against colon and breast cancer, although more evidence is needed to confirm this.

Taking high doses of calcium can lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.

You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you decide to take calcium supplements it's a good idea not to take too much.

Taking 1500 mg or less of calcium supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.

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