Calcium is one of the most important nutrient in our body which is a vital object for the development of the bone strength and structure. Calcium is responsible for the working of the basic functions of our body by using 99 per cent of the total in the development of strengthening the bone density; thereby supporting a good skeletal structure and function. The rest 1 per cent of the total amount of calcium is mainly used for the vital functioning of other workings in our body as in the case of blood clothing, nervous system, muscle contraction and most importantly cell signaling. The usage of calcium is a must in the cell which acts as a neurotransmitter by contracting each and every working of our body and nervous system.
While calcium works as a multi-significant nutrient of our body, a lack of calcium level can also lead to a lot of malfunctioning leading to anxiety, lack of proper sleep and even depression. So it becomes a necessity to maintain a proper calcium level in our body by following a healthy lifestyle and going by a proper calcium enriched diet in our day to day life. Also, a proper level of magnesium, vitamin K and D too helps in boosting up the working of calcium in our body.
Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for the growth and maintenance of strong teeth and bones, nervous system, and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes.
The DV for calcium is 1000mg i.e. anything more than this value can lead to kidney stones, risk of vascular diseases like strokes and heart attack while a deficiency can lead to numbness in fingers and toes, cramps, and abnormal heart rhythms.
We all know milk products are rich in calcium. Talking about cheese Parmesan has the high value of calcium present with 1376mg of calcium per 100g serving, followed by Romano, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Swiss, Cheddar, Hard Goat cheese, Provolone.
Tofu or paneer
Tofu is most commonly found in Eastern foods, particularly Chinese food. Fried tofu provides 372mg (37% DV) of calcium per 100g serving, or 104mg (10%DV) per ounce, and 48mg (5% DV) in an average 13 gram piece. Tofu prepared with calcium sulfate can provide much much higher levels.
Milk or yogurt
Nothing can beat up Milk in calcium as it is flooded with loads of calcium.
Nuts & seeds
One ounce of any seeds gives you about 200-300 gms of calcium.
Eat your greens that helps keep your bones and teeth stronger.
- Red kidney beans
- Chick beans
- Green/French beans
Fruits listed below are loaded with loads of calcium to keep you and your bones stronger.
Seafood is also packed with an impressive accounts of calcium and pacifies the daily intake value of calcium per 300 gms of serving. We already know seafood is very nutritious loaded with healthy fats and protein.
Even a regular fillet of wild salmon has 24 mg.
Calcium for mental and physical health and strong bones
As mentioned before, calcium is the most important mineral found in our body which is responsible for many vital body functioning. It is important for making us strong and healthy, helps in clotting of blood and other nervous system workings too! But a lack of enough calcium level can also lead to constant mood swings such as crankiness, depression, and so on! So it is a must to keep the calcium level in check by constantly following a good lifestyle. But after a certain age we start to lose calcium in our body. This usually happens from the age of 50, when we face a steep decline in the calcium level due to osteoporosis which can be prevented with a good diet filled with calcium enriched food.
How your body gets calcium
There are several ways to provide calcium in a body. The best way is to get the right nutrition through the foods you eat. If you are fussy eater or you’re not allowed to consume some foods, try to alternate them with supplements. Supplements should be consumed of the correct doze and not overly consumed. Not consuming enough calcium makes your body rip off the existing calcium from the bones. Thus, rather than adding to the strength, it weakens them.
Food is the best source of calcium
Depletion of the calcium level can lead to a lot of malfunctioning of the entire metabolic system. But this can be overpowered by proper food and nourishment. There are two options. Either rely upon daily calcium supplements or rely upon calcium enriched food. However studies have shown that people who rely on food as a source of calcium have a better bone strength than the ones who rely on calcium supplements. The reason behind this fact is, artificial calcium supplements do not help in absorbing as much calcium content in the body which helps the natural sources of food to do so. Even doctors suggest for natural sources of calcium whenever there is a shortcoming of calcium content in the body.
Good food sources of calcium
- Dairy: Dairy is undoubtedly the most effective way for fighting against depleted calcium level. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium content.
- Vegetables and greens: Even there are many vegetables that are enriched in calcium and are a rich source of healthy vitamins. Vegetables like turnip greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel , asparagus, Brussels sprouts are enriched in good amount of calcium.
- Beans: For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.
- Herbs and spices: Not known by many but even there are few spices that have a bit of calcium level in them. Example are cloves, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, and even parsley
- Other foods: Apart from all the above mentioned options there are other options too! Even better source of calcium rich food includes salmon, black cod, tofu, oranges, almonds, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, and sea vegetables too.
Tips for adding more dairy to your diet – even if you don’t like plain milk
- Instead of using water, always choose milk while preparing oatmeal or any other hot breakfast cereals. This will ensure the right amount of calcium intake as per your meal.
- While preparing soups like tomato, pumpkin, squash and so on, use milk instead of any other liquid.
- While preparing sauces like as Alfredo and Béchamel sauce, milk can be added as a base to them.
- Even milk or yogurt can be used for preparing whole-wheat pancakes and even in case of waffles.
- Yogurt is a great source for calcium and thus it can be included in our diet in form of tasty dips too. So next time when you eat your french fries, do not forget to be creative with yogurt while preparing a side dip!
- Milk or yogurt can be added while making delicious fruit smoothies!
- Cheese is another great source of calcium, which can be enjoyed as a dessert or even as a snack. There are quite a large variety of cheeses available like cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda, jack, Parmesan, blue cheese and so on.
Tips for getting your calcium from non-dairy sources
- Greens, herbs and spices are a good source of calcium too. If you are somehow allergic to dairy product then this is a great option for preventing low calcium level. There are options like kale, collard greens and parsley. In vegetables there are variety of food like turnip, cabbage, beet greens, broccoli, and so on. And you can always an option for making your food taste even better by adding herbs like garlic, thymes, basil, oregano, and rosemary which will enhance the nutrient level.
- Dark green leafy salads are good too. There are options like romaine hearts, arugula, red leaf lettuce and so on.
- Adding extra amount of vegetables to your meal like asparagus, fresh green peas, broccoli, okra makes way for a healthier meal.
- While preparing sandwiches or salad you can even add pink salmon, sardines and shrimps which will make the food nutritious.
- Another powerhouse of calcium is beans/legumes. They are rich in high calcium content which can be used while preparing meals, soups, stews and so on. There are options like tofu, black-eyed peas, black beans and so on.
- Starting meal of the day can make a lot of difference. So if one chooses to start off the day by snacking on oats, that will be very nutritious and healthy.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds and sesame seeds are another healthy option which can be added along with the morning oats.
- Green tea is a very healthy substitute for beverages like coffee. This will enhance our metabolic system.