No Dairy? No Problem: Get Your Calcium Here
Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, making it extremely vital for one’s health. It’s common knowledge that it plays an important role in maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, but it also plays a part in maintaining cardiovascular health, muscle function and nerve signaling. While the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most adults, many of us do not get enough of the mineral through our diet.
This is because not all the calcium that we consume is absorbed, and the amount we consume still depends on the source.
Vitamin D and magnesium both play a part in how well the body absorbs this vitally important element. The body uses magnesium to convert vitamin D so that it can help the body better absorb calcium. In fact, one study showed how those who had low levels of vitamin D only absorbed 14% of the calcium from food, when compared to the 58% of calcium absorbed by those with adequate vitamin D levels. Magnesium also helps to keep the mineral in the bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Another nutrient that’s important for its synthesis is vitamin K, as it too helps to keep calcium in bones.
Whether you are lactose intolerant, or following a vegan diet, many people do not consume a diet that contains dairy. Luckily, there are foods out there that are not only rich in calcium, but in magnesium and vitamin K and D which can all ensure that the body better absorbs this important mineral.
If you need any more reason to make almonds your go-to snack, here’s one: An ounce of almonds helps to provide 8% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. If that’s not enough, almonds also contain manganese, vitamin E and magnesium – which boosts the body’s absorption of this element.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils may be high in fiber, protein, magnesium and folate, but they also contain a good dose of this element. Winged beans contain the most calcium as they contain 24% of the recommended intake, closely followed by white beans, which provide 13%.
Canned fish (with bones)
Thanks to their edible bones, sardines are a rich source of calcium – with one that can provide 35% of the recommended intake. Canned salmon is also an excellent source of this element, with three ounces of canned salmon providing 21% of the recommended intake.
If you’re worried about the levels of mercury in these fish, fret not. Not only do they have low levels of mercury, but they both contain high levels of the mineral selenium, which helps to prevent and reverse mercury toxicity. If that’s not enough, these fish also contain vitamin D. They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids and that’s always a good thing.
Create a delicious, nutrient dense meal by tossing the fish into a salad.
Dark leafy greens
Any meal that incorporates dark, leafy greens is bound to provide a nutritional boost. Greens such as collard greens, spinach and kale help to provide an adequate amount of calcium. In fact, one cup of cooked collard greens has a quarter of the recommended intake.
While this super-sweet and sticky dried fruit is extremely rich in antioxidants, potassium and fibre, it also contains more calcium than other dried fruits – with one ounce containing 5% of the recommended daily intake. If that’s not enough, figs also contain decent amounts of vitamin K and magnesium. Nutrients that can help the body better absorb and utilize this element.
Seeds are extremely rich in nutrients and those high in calcium include chia seeds and sesame seeds. These seeds are also rich in antioxidants, protein and very essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Don’t be shy to make these seeds your next snack or even add them to a salad.
While this fruit is mostly recommended ensuring that you reach your recommended intake of vitamin C, oranges can also do the same for calcium. As well as providing immune-boosting vitamin C content, one large orange can help to provide 6% of your calcium intake for the day.
Aside from dairy products, there are plenty of other good sources out there that can ensure that you meet your calcium needs. These foods also help to provide other vital nutrients.