The best sources of calcium aren’t always the obvious ones. As children, we’re continually told to eat and drink dairy products to help us grow. We all hear that milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium, that’ll help to develop healthy bones and teeth. But have you ever looked past the dairy products for alternative options? If you don’t eat animal products or are lactose intolerant, then how else can you boost your calcium intake? In this article, we share the 13 best sources of calcium, from both dairy and non-dairy foods.
Why Are Sources of Calcium Important?
Calcium is an important mineral that’s needed for a variety of bodily functions. It helps in building healthy teeth and nails, maintaining bone health, muscle contraction and relaxation, and also helps in hormonal and enzymatic actions.
As calcium isn’t produced by the human body, it’s essential for us to consume it through our diet. It’s recommended that adults get 1000mg per day, with women over 50 and men over 70 advised to have 1200mg. There are numerous sources of calcium we can choose from, many of which are just as good as dairy products. Let’s look at a few calcium-rich foods that you might like to try.
Soy products like cooked soybeans, tofu, and soy milk are some of the best sources of calcium. A cup of cooked soybeans contains about 175 mg of calcium. Soybeans are not just tasty but versatile too since they can be used in a lot of dishes. Tofu is a good food for people looking to stay slim and healthy. While on a diet, you can add tofu to ensure you still consume enough calcium.
Did you know that a cup of properly cooked okra will give you about 175 mg of calcium? Boost the nutritional content of your meal by serving it as a side dish to your main. However, it’s crucial not to overcook the okra as it removes much of the calcium and health benefits.
Almonds are an incredibly rich source of calcium. You can increase the calcium content of your salads by sprinkling a handful of these crunchy nuts on top. About 100g of almonds gives you approximately 264mg of your daily calcium requirement. You can also combine them with fish or meat dishes for extra nutrients.
Does this one surprise you? Oranges provide a decent amount of calcium – simply squeeze their juice and enjoy a calcium boost. You can also blend it into smoothies or eat its segments. About half a cup full of oranges will give you approximately 50 mg of calcium.
Green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients and especially high in calcium. When it comes to spinach, most of us think of Popeye and his amazing strength. But it’s full of a wide range of nutrients, including around 250 mg calcium in a cup. Try it in salads, curries, or even soups.
Kelp is nutrient-rich seaweed and a great source of calcium. A cup of kelp will give you approximately 135 mg of calcium. Try it mixed into salads or as a powder in smoothies.
7. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are widely used in many food dishes, including bagels and salads. A ½ cup of sesame seeds will give you 500mg of calcium. So, why not try incorporating them into your regular meals for an additional boost of calcium.
Celery is a great source of calcium. About two and a half cups will give you approximately 85mg of calcium and can easily be mixed into salads or soups.
Broccoli has a high calcium content – just one cup of cooked florets contains around 63mg. It’s actually great for your all round health and is a nutritious yet filling veggie option if you’re trying to lose weight.
Turnips are also a rich source of calcium, with about 100g containing roughly 190mg. Try them mashed with a little butter and cinnamon for a tasty side dish.
11. Canned Salmon
Canned salmon contains a hefty dose of calcium, with around 282 mg per 100g. Flake it into salads or make your own fish cakes to give your calcium intake a boost.
A single date contains 2% of your daily recommended intake, so enjoying a handful as a snack can quickly add up. Alternatively, blend them into your smoothies or add them to casseroles for extra sweetness and nutrients.
13. Milk and milk products
We know that milk supplies an enormous amount of calcium, which is why most of us grew up drinking a glass every day. But if you don’t like milk, then cheese and yogurt are tasty alternatives. If you’re on a diet, then go for the low-fat options for a calcium boost without the calories.
Other Convenient Sources of Calcium – Supplements
Incorporating these sources of calcium into your diet can be a great way to give your body a boost. If you don’t have time to prepare or cook with these ingredients, then calcium supplements are a practical alternative. Our calcium patches deliver a healthy dose of the mineral, without the unwanted digestive side effects that oral supplements can cause. Simply attach it to your skin and let your body absorb the nutrients. Learn more about combined vitamin D3 and calcium patches here.
1. What is Calcium? Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute of Health, USA. Accessed on 28th October 2017, available at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/