Being the most abundant mineral in your body, calcium’s benefits go beyond strong bones and teeth. But, apart from its vibrant presence within our body, this wonder mineral can be found in numerous foods and beverages other than the good old milk. But what if you are lactose intolerant, vegan or just not a fan of milk’s and cheese’s taste? Luckily, dairy products are not the only source of calcium out there. So, how about we find out why we need to get enough calcium as well as all the surprising yet tasty sources that nature provides?
Calcium is Vital Because…
Apart from strengthening our bones and teeth, research suggests that calcium is powerful enough to prevent insulin resistance. What does this mean? This condition refers to your body and its ability to use insulin effectively. If diagnosed with insulin resistance, you are bound to suffer from high blood pressure, and there is great chance you developed Type 2 diabetes down the line.
This mineral also plays a significant role in our body’s growth. From the time you were infants up to your adolescent days, calcium supports growth as the bones develop. Particularly in women post menopause, calcium is consumed in the form of dairy products (mostly) to treat osteoporosis. What’s sad, though, is that most people these days fail to meet the calcium mark. In fact, this study proves that the calcium needs of most Americans are rarely met despite being so essential.
PS: A word of advice from experts!
Make sure to pair foods high in calcium with foods rich in vitamin D. Why? According to experts, this type of vitamin enables your body to absorb as much calcium as possible.
Sailing Down the Grocery Aisle for Calcium-Rich Foods
Because most Americans don’t catch up with their daily calcium needs, they resort to either enriched foods or supplements. Whereas this practice is beneficial for their body, nothing can compare with getting enough nutrients au natural! So, stock up on the following calcium-rich foods/beverages to get rid of supplements.
From its dried version to its juicy and fresh form, experts claim that figs are one of the richest sources of calcium that nature has to offer. Along with its calcium punch, though, figs come with potent antioxidant properties and a whole lot of fiber.
This green superfood is the epitome of a nutrient-dense chow! Apart from its antioxidant nature, kale is also rich in calcium by containing 188mg (approximately 19% DV) of it in just 2 cups. That’s a lot! You can include it as part of any salad or even enjoy it in the form of chips. Kale chips, anyone?
Goodbye, milk! Hello, orange juice! This sweet-tasting fruit is one of your best shots at keeping up with your daily calcium needs. Containing up to 65mg of calcium (6% DV) in one piece of fruit, orange can do much more than offer a tasty alternative to milk. It can be a great addition to any fruit salad.
No, nothing is fishy around here. Apart from being a hefty source of calcium, sardines also provide a generous dose of Omega-3 fatty acids (good for the heart) and vitamin D (promotes calcium absorption). Either straight out of the can or as part of a seafood meal, sardines are one the healthiest fish to munch on.
This is one of those superfoods you simply shouldn’t ignore! Along with the millennia-long proof that they are a healthy food to chew on, scientists tout about the abundance of calcium and iron found in white beans. With about 191mg (19% DV) found in just one cup of canned white beans, make sure you grab some for yourself next time you hit the supermarket.
Who said that eating healthy is bland and boring? Apart from being touted for their cholesterol-lowering properties, Cheerios can help those calcium levels in your body go through the roof. Along with some other calcium-rich foods such as soymilk (see below), Cheerios can actually cheer up your taste buds and health.
No offense to cow milk, but soy milk rules! Ideal for our friends with lactose intolerance issues, soymilk not only is rich in calcium, but it also contains more protein than cow milk. You can always add soymilk in your coffee or pour some in your cereal bowl.
Even though instant oatmeal doesn’t live up to the glory and potential of the traditional rolled oats, it is still fortified with enough calcium to support your and your children’s bone and teeth. The only thing you should keep an eye out for, though, is added sugars.
Almonds are notorious for their nutritional punch. Both rich in calories AND calcium, you need to watch out for the portion size you consume. When you eat almonds, know that are in for a hefty dose of iron, vitamin E, and potassium to pair with that calcium “shot”. Ready to go “nuts” for almonds?
Here is a fun fact: It’s the bones in salmon that contain all the calcium, and that’s a lot, up to 232mg (23% DV) in 1/2 can of salmon. That is why you should make sure to mash them well along with the salmon meat. Although this process might turn you off a bit, you should know that the bones in canned salmon are soft enough for you to mash.
In moderation, scientists and nutritionists alike claim that tofu is a perfect way to supply your body with enough calcium to maintain a healthy smile. In fact, tofu made with calcium sulfate should be your go-to option regardless of being a vegan or not.
Despite being known as a great hamburger bun decoration, sesame seeds more potent than they seem to be. Along with being a rich source of calcium, these tiny seeds can also reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure levels and even shield you against certain types of cancer.
Aside from being a tasty staple in miso soup, seaweed is yet another calcium-rich food that comes straight from the sea. Scientists tout seaweed’s calcium potential as much as they talk about its high content of iodine and the beneficial effects on thyroid function.
Even though the primary calcium contenders these are dairy products, you shouldn’t solely rely your daily needs on them. As you see, nature has provided you with an extensive and versatile variety of foods that do the trick. Give them a try and -who knows?- you might enjoy them more than you gave them credit for.