Calcium is an essential nutrient we all need, including animals. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it is vital for healthy bone health. We all need calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and 99% of the body’s calcium is present in the bones and teeth. It is also essential for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. In addition, it is crucial for cardiovascular function and muscular movement. Calcium occurs naturally in many foods, and food manufacturers add it to certain products (supplements are also available). Alongside calcium-rich foods, people also need vitamin D, as vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D comes from fish oil, dairy products, and exposure to sunlight.
The recommended daily intake(RDI) of calcium is 1,000mg per day for most adults. Women above 50 years and everyone above 70 years should get 1,200mg per day. Furthermore, children aged 4-18 are advised to consume 1,300mg. However, despite how crucial calcium is, many people don’t meet the required calcium needs through their diet.
What if I don’t consume enough calcium?
Well, calcium deficiency can lead to numbness in the fingers and toes, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythm. In addition, if you do not consume enough calcium or calcium-rich foods, your body begins to take calcium from your bone, decreasing your bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis.
The following are some calcium-rich foods for healthy living;
Fruits are linked to higher bone density, which is a marker of bone health. Some studies show that apples specifically may positively affect bone health. When you eat apples, you will boost minerals like calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. These minerals are required by the body to perform various functions like strengthening your bone.
Yogurt is an essential source of calcium. A healthy lifestyle may contribute to preventing osteoporosis, especially for older people. Daily yogurt consumption contributes to calcium intake, which benefits bone health. Plain yogurt is very rich in calcium which makes the bones strong. Many other yogurts are also rich in probiotic bacteria, which have various health benefits.
Not only do almonds contain nearly 200mg of recommended daily dose of calcium, but they also deliver a whole host of nutrients- fiber, manganese, vitamin E, etc. that helps with a healthy lifestyle. Many other types of nuts like walnuts, cashew, and pistachios are good sources of healthy fats and nutrients, and they’re ideal for preventing osteoporosis.
Salmon and other fatty fishes offer an array of bone-boosting nutrients. They contain vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium and omega-3 fatty acid, which may also aid bones. If you want more calcium, you should try the canned salmon since a five-ounce serving has 350mg of calcium.
Yes, there is calcium in most vegetables, and your body can absorb it even better than it can for milk. The levels aren’t relatively as high as in dairy foods, but they contain an adequate portion for a healthy lifestyle. They are a great source of calcium especially dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and mustard leaves.
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health. The calcium content is particularly impressive, 18% of the RDI( recommended daily intake) in a single ounce(28 grams). As a result, chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
Fortified Soy milk
It is essential to choose a fortified product with calcium carbonate. A cup of fortified soy milk contains almost or if not the same amount of calcium ( 80mg-500mg) as the equivalent of cow’s milk. In addition, soy milk is also rich in vitamin D and contains less saturated fat than whole milk with lactose.
Oranges & Orange Juice
Oranges and orange juice are rich in vitamin C, which helps in forming collagen. Collagen contributes to healthy bone structure, promotes bone formation, wound healing, and gum growth. Orange juice is also rich in vitamin A which is essential for overall skeletal growth and cell differentiation.
Beans are highly nutritious, calcium-rich foods as one cup( 172 grams) of wing-cooked beans delivers 24% of the RDI for calcium. At the same time, other varieties like white beans provide around 4-15% of the same serving size. They also contain lots of iron, zinc, fiber, and proteins which are all essential for healthy living.
Most cheeses are excellent sources of calcium, and they have a bioavailability of calcium( about 30-50%). Parmesan cheese has the most calcium with 33% RDI per ounce (28 grams). Many types of cheese are also loaded with protein. An example of them is cottage cheese. Despite being rich in fats and calories, cheese may help lower your risk of heart diseases.