Around 99% of the calcium in the human body is found in the bones and teeth. Calcium helps in maintaining bone health, helps regulate muscle contraction and plays key role in blood clotting. Here is a list of top 10 calcium rich foods for stronger bones.
Why Calcium Is Important?
Calcium is essential to develop, grow and maintain bones. As children grow, calcium helps develop bones. As an adult, calcium continues to maintain bones and prevent bone density loss. Women, especially around menopause lose bone density at a higher rate which contributes higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Other Benefits Of Including Enough Calcium:
- regulates muscle contraction
- lower blood pressure in young people
- lowers risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy
- improved cholesterol values
How much Calcium do you need?
An adult needs 1,000 mg of Calcium for males and 1000 to 1,200 mg of Calcium for females.
Causes or Signs of Calcium Deficiency
- anorexia, bulimia and some other eating disorders
- kidney failure
- people who eat a lot of protein or sodium may excrete calcium
- high consumption of caffeine, soda, or alcohol
- vitamin D deficiency
- phosphate deficiency
- lack of parathyroid hormone
- long-term use of laxatives
- condition such as inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive diseases
- prolonged use of some medicines, such as chemotherapy
Top 10 Calcium Rich Foods For Stronger Bones
Dried figs are abundant in antioxidants and fiber. It contains calcium more than any other dried fruits. An ounce of dried fig can provide 5% of Recommended Daily Intake(RDI) for calcium. There are also little amount of potassium and vitamin K in dried figs.
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are super healthy foods, rich in calcium. Some of the greens that are high in calcium are spinach and kale. A 100 g serving of spinach contains only 23 calories, while contributing 8% of RDI for calcium. These vegetables are also rich in potassium and magnesium.
Cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. An ounce of parmesan cheese has about 331 mg or about 33% of RDI (1). Softer cheeses like brie have about 52 mg or 5% of RDI per ounce (2). Our body absorbs calcium in dairy products easily than plant sources.
Cheeses of most varieties are packed with protein. The more the cheese ages, the lesser lactose in contains, hence it is easily digestible for people with lactose intolerance. Eating cheese helps in reducing risk of heart diseases, metabolic syndrome, stroke and type 2 diseases (3) (4). Since full-fat cheese are high in calories, fat and sodium, be mindful of the serving.
Yogurt is rich in calcium. In fact, a cup of plain yogurt contains 30% of RDI for calcium. It also contains phosphorus, potassium and vitamin vitamin B2 and B12 (5). Low-fat yogurt may be even higher in calcium, with 45% of the RDI in one cup (6).
Yogurt contains live probiotic bacteria which aids digestion. Greek yogurt might help in getting your protein, but contains lesser calcium. Eating yogurt regularly helps in improving diet quality and metabolic health (7).
Almonds has the highest calcium amounts of all nuts. An ounce of almonds contains 8% of the RDI (8). They are also rich in fibers, healthy fats, protein, magnesium, manganese and vitamin E.
Eating nuts helps in lowering body fats, blood pressure and reduces risk of metabolic diseases (9).
6. Sardines and Salmon
These fishes also contain high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are good for your skin, heart and brain. Both sardines and salmon have high levels of selenium that can prevent mercury toxicity (12).
An orange contains approximately 60 mg of calcium. It also contains vitamin D that improves calcium absorption. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which helps in removing oxidants and boosting metabolism of body.
8. Soya Milk and Tofu
If you are a lactose-intolerant, a healthy alternative would be soy products. A 100 grams of soy milk contains about 25 mg of calcium. It is also rich in protein and folate (13).
Tofu also has high amounts of calcium and protein. A cup of tony contributes to 86% of the RDI for calcium (14).
Seeds such as poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses. These seeds are loaded with calcium. Seeds contains protein and healthy fats.
A tablespoon of poppy seeds contains 126 mg or 13% of the RDI for calcium (15).
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein (16).
A tablespoon of sesame seeds have 9% of the RDI for calcium. Sesame seeds are also abundant in copper, iron and manganese (17).
10. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are rich in fiber, protein, iron, zinc, folate, magnesium and potassium. They also contain decent amounts of calcium.
A cup of cooked winged beans contains 244 mg of calcium or 24% of the RDI (18).
A cup of cooked white beans have about 13% of the RDI for calcium. While other beans and lentils contribute about 4 to 13% of the RDI per cup.
Since beans and legumes are plant-based they can help you get your calcium levels while lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels and risk of type 2 diabetes (19).