Calcium is required for the growth and strengthening of bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency is one of the most common problems that begins at childhood and resurfaces during pregnancy or old age.

Causes of Calcium Deficiency:
1. Inadequate intake of calcium rich foods
2. Defective absorption of nutrients in the stomach and intestine
3. Other conditions like vitamin D deficiency, liver disease etc.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency:
1. Brittle bones
2. Joint pains
3. Yellowing of teeth
4. In extreme cases, rickets (soft bones) in children and osteoporosis (brittle bones) in adults

Remedies:
Make these ingredients a part of your diet daily to chase away calcium deficiency.
1. Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, curds, paneer and buttermilk are the richest source of calcium.
2. Green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach (palak), lettuce, celery (ajwain ka patta), fenugreek (methi) etc. are also good sources of calcium and hence should be consumed in abundance. Sai Bhaji a mixture of 3 green leafy vegetables is a very simple way to incorporate them in our diet.
3. Soyabeans: Soyabeans and its products like soya flour, soya milk, tofu etc. are valuable sources of calcium and protein. A quarter to half cup of soyabeans in any form is beneficial for those with calcium deficiency. A vegetable made with soyabeans in a gravy or chapatis made with soya flour are the most acceptable dishes both children and adults. Soya Mutter ki Subzi and Soya Upma are perfect examples of including soya in our daily meal.
4. Ragi (nachni): Ragi, a popular Maharashtrian cereal, is another rich source of calcium. A quarter cup of ragi, either whole or in the form of flour consumed daily helps to cure calcium deficiency. Try the calcium rich Nachni Pancakes to boost your calcium intake.
5. Sesame seeds (til): Consumption of 1 to 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds everyday is an effective way to keep calcium deficiency at bay. Try consuming it in salads or in the form of chikki as in the recipe of Almond Til Chikki.
Foods to be Avoided:
Deep fried foods
Refined foods like refined flour, pasta, sugar and polished rice
Pointers for Increasing Calcium Intake:
1. Include at least one source of calcium in every meal.
2. Have at least 100 to 125 grams of one leafy vegetable everyday, either cooked or uncooked.
3. Consume 2 to 3 glasses of milk in any form (like curds, paneer etc.) to supplement calcium in your diet. Overweight people can use low calorie milk products.
4. Restrict your consumption of fat, as excessive fat hinders with the absorption of calcium in our body.
5. Have a sunbath every morning, as early morning sunlight is good for the production of vitamin D which in turn helps in the synthesis of calcium in our body.