Calcium is very important for your health and plays a vital role for an overall healthy wellbeing. It plays a role in:
- strengthening bones and teeth
- regulating muscle functioning, such as contraction and relaxation
- regulating heart functioning
- blood clotting
- transmission of nervous system messages
- enzyme function.
The recommended dietary intake of calcium is different for people of different ages and life stages, including: adults need between 1000-1300mg, whilst children need between 210-1000mg, depending on their age.
While for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy and have to remove the food group from their diet, it’s actually important for those who aren’t to not remove food groups just for the sake of it, however, because you can limit your diet and therefore risk reducing the nutrients you need to be healthy, for example if you do limit dairy products focus on the the list above, which are known to be sources high in CALCIUM.
Ways to do this:
- Eat a handful of nuts, or add some seeds to your meal – this includes almonds, brazil nuts and sesame seed paste (tahini), poppy, celery and chia seeds.
– Fifteen almonds contain about 40 mg of calcium.
- Add some figs to your salads.
– Dried figs contain more calcium than other dried fruits. A single ounce (28 grams) has 5% of your daily needs for this mineral.
- Include sardines or canned salmon, as they are loaded with calcium, thanks to their edible bones. This is also another good source of protein and fats.
– Half a cup of canned salmon contains 402 mg of calcium.
- Get enough vitamin D. Calcium is absorbed by the body and used only when there is enough vitamin D in your system
- Fortified drinks, such as nut or soy milks are high in calcium. This also includes orange juice (sugar reduced). Fortified foods, such as grain-based foods may be fortified with calcium. Read the label to find out how much of this mineral fortified foods contain.
– For example, one cup (237 ml) of fortified orange juice can have 50% of the RDI, while the same serving of fortified soy milk packs 30%.
- Dark, leafy greens are incredibly healthy, and some of them are high in calcium. Such as broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale and spinach. However, some leafy greens contain oxalates, which make some calcium unavailable to your body.
– One cup of cooked spinach contains 100 mg, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45 mg of calcium and one cup (190 grams) of cooked collard greens packs 25% of your daily needs.
- Tofu and edamame are both rich in calcium and can be a great alternative for anyone who can tolerate soy products, or pescatarians, vegans or vegetarians.
– Just half a cup (126 grams) of tofu prepared with calcium has 86% of the RDI, while one cup (155 grams) of edamame packs 10%.