What is Calcium?
Calcium, as we all know, is one of the most important mineral needed by the human body.
Not only is it vital for the growth and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones but also facilitates muscle contraction, nerve signaling and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes.
This mineral plays an important role in human metabolism, constituting about 1 to 2 % of an adult human’s body weight.
It helps to manage the acid and base balance in our blood stream. Nearly 99% of the calcium in our body is found in our bones and teeth.
The table given below shows the recommended daily intake of calcium for people of different age groups.
The amount of calcium you need every day depends on your age and gender:
Age 50 & younger 1,000 mg* daily
Age 51 & older 1,200 mg* daily
Age 70 & younger 1,000 mg* daily
Age 71 & older 1,200 mg* daily
*This includes the total amount of calcium you get from various foods and supplements.
Each day we lose some amount of calcium through our nails, skin, hair, sweat, urine and faeces.
Our bodies cannot produce new calcium and this requirement is fulfilled by extracting calcium from our bones.
This adversely affects bone density causing the bones to become soft and weak. This increases the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Deficiency of calcium can lead to health issues like muscle cramps, loss of appetite, lethargy, convulsions, numbness in fingers and toes and abnormal heart rhythms.
Thus, the best way to fulfill this deficiency is to increase the intake of foods that are rich in calcium.
Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Calcium Intake
Calcium content: 1 oz, 20 mg, 2% DV
Top salads with these seeds for some added crunch, or munch on a one-ounce serving as a snack.
In addition to their calcium content, these tiny seeds are also a good source of antioxidant-rich vitamin E and copper—a nutrient that supports white blood cell health.
Calcium content: 3 oz (about 9 small), 33 mg, 3.3%
Work towards your daily calcium needs (while getting in a hefty dose of low-fat protein).
Calcium content: 1 cup, 37 mg, 3.7% DV
Top steamed green beans with some olive oil, pine nuts, ground pepper and garlic powder to tantalize your taste buds and reap the health-boosting benefits.
Calcium content: 3 medium, 52 mg, 5% DV
While figs may be best known for their inclusion in the famous Fig Newton cookies, you’ll have to eat the whole fruit to reap its bone-building benefits.
Chop up fresh or dried figs and add them to oatmeal, salads or Greek yogurt with some honey, cinnamon and slivered almonds.
Alternatively, you can eat them whole as a quick, on-the-go snack. Three of them will cost you 110 calories.
Calcium content: 1 cup cooked, 62 mg, 6% DV
This cruciferous vegetable is rich in calcium and a host of other good-for-you nutrients like vitamins A, C, and B6.
But that’s not all: Broccoli, one of the Best Foods for 6-Pack Abs, contains a compound that works on a genetic level to effectively “switch off” cancer genes, leading to the targeted death of cancer cells and slowing of disease progression.
In fact, one study found that men who ate three or more half-cup servings of broccoli per week had a 41 percent decreased risk of prostate cancer compared to men who ate fewer than one serving per week.
Sounds like a convincing reason to add them to your diet, if you ask us!
Calcium content: 1 large, 68 mg, 7% DV
This humble root vegetable is a good source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
That’s a serious line up for such a simple spud.
Instead of baking one in the oven, why not tap into your culinary creativity and use the spuds to make some homemade fries?
After slicing the potato lengthwise into strips, top with coconut oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and pop them into the oven on 350 degrees F until they’re crispy.
Calcium content: 1 oz, 23 nuts, 76 mg, 7.6% DV
Research shows that eating almonds before heading to the gym can help the body burn more fat and carbs during workouts.
The small but mighty nut is also a potent source of satiating protein and fiber and packed with monounsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation.
Eat them solo as an easy on-the-go snack or pair with some 80% cacao dark chocolate (we like Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar) and berries as a not-so-sinful dessert.
They also make a great addition to yogurt parfaits and overnight oats.
Calcium content: 1 cup, 134 mg, 13% DV
Kelp, a variety of sea vegetable, is commonly found in Asian dishes.
A cup of the greens serves up 134 milligrams of calcium, in addition to a hefty dose of fiber and iodine—a mineral that helps maintain thyroid health.
If you like making homemade smoothies and juice, substitute kelp for kale to reap the benefits.
Big fan of miso soup?
Throw some kelp into the broth to up its nutritional value.
Calcium content: 1 cup, steamed, 301 mg, 30% DV
A cup of the steamed broccoli rabe has a whopping 301 milligrams of bone-protecting calcium and is a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C, too.
Add the veggie to your diet to stay strong and healthy. We like to sauté it with olive oil and garlic and top it off with a dusting of Parmesan cheese.
Calcium content: 3 ounces, canned in oil with bones, 325 mg, 33% DV
Although sardines aren’t many people’s favorite fish, they’re one of the best sources of dairy-free calcium out there if you can stomach them.
Look for varieties canned with the bones, which are soft and completely edible. Sorry, that’s non-negotiable.
The bones are where all the calcium comes from; so, in this case, you need to eat the bones to better yours.
So, while it may seem hard to swallow, this is the variety you’ve got to consume if you want to reap the benefits.
Toss the fish into a bed of leafy greens with tomato, cucumber, olives, feta and red wine vinegar. The combo makes for a tasty, Mediterranean-inspired dish.
For a quick snack, top whole-grain crackers with two or three sardines and a squeeze of fresh lemon for added flavor.