Calcium is the most common mineral in the body. It supports skeletal integrity and dental health, as well as nerve conduction, heartbeat regulation, muscle contractions, and weight maintenance. Eating calcium-rich foods can help maintain overall health -- and it is especially important for older, post-menopausal women, to prevent osteoporosis. To properly absorb and use calcium, the body also needs sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients, specifically vitamins D and K. Because most calcium-rich foods also contain these additional nutrients, getting calcium from natural sources, as opposed to supplements, is ideal.
Milk is one of the richest sources of calcium and also contains vitamins A, B12, and K and several trace elements that help balance electrolytes. Vitamin A aids bone growth and healthy immune function needed to help fight bacteria and viruses. Vitamin B12 keeps the nerves and red blood cells healthy, and biotin or vitamin B7 strengthens hair and nails and lowers cholesterol.
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