Calcium is the most abundant and vital mineral found in our body. It sustains the entire skeletal system and muscles, supports the functioning of the nervous system, and is an essential component of the circulatory system. Calcium plays an integral role in the secretion of a number of hormones and enzymes that are vital for your body function efficiently. Foods that provide calcium support functions including bone building, nerve conduction, heartbeat regulation, muscle contractions and weight maintenance. Not to mention prevent calcium deficiency. In order for your body to properly absorb and use calcium, you also need other essential nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K.
Non Dairy High in Ca
There are actually lots of calcium rich foods and drinks, if you’re lactose intolerant or just don’t like or want to eat dairy, you probably didn’t know about and most of them don’t contain dairy. You may be looking for alternatives to the dairy and meat products that are often mistakenly considered to be the only food sources of calcium available. Fresh organic fruits provide many beneficial nutrients but you may be surprised to learn that, for a number of fruits, calcium is one of those nutrients.
Foods Rich in Calcium
While they are not exactly calcium rich, sunflower seeds do contain 20 mg of calcium per 1 oz. serving, or roughly 2% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium. While that may not seem like a lot, every little bit helps, and sunflower seeds are an incredibly easy and tasty way to get a bit of extra calcium in your diet. You can sprinkle them on salads, bake them into muffins, or just keep a package of them at your desk for easy snacking.
Sesame seeds often fly beneath the radar because they’re so tiny, but they’re actually great dairy free sources of calcium. Sprinkle them on a salad or add them to your favorite dishes and you’ll get the power of sesame seeds with little to no effort. Don’t think you only can add sesame seeds to Asian dishes they go with just about everything, so experiment as you’re cooking dinner and add them at will. If your kids are like mine, they won’t even notice. They’re perfect for when you want some crunch with every bite while you work on boosting your bone health.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy green is everywhere these days, and for good reason. A few names that pop up on reading this would be spinach, amaranth, collard greens, mint, kale, mustard greens, broccoli. These leaves contain a lot of vitamins, iron along with calcium. If you need even more reason to pack some leafy little veggies into your diet, however, broccoli also contains a compound that is thought to essentially “switch off” cancer genes on a genetic level. One study of men that ate at least a half a cup of broccoli three times a week showed a remarkable 41% decrease in the risk of prostate cancer. If you feel like you need to check your prostate and look for treatment you can learn more about bph treatment online.
If you want a sweet snack or even a healthy dessert, go for figs every time. They have plenty of calcium, fiber and antioxidants. You can snack on dried or fresh figs or add them to your favorite dish such as oatmeal or salad. Dried figs at 241 mg of calcium per cup and 13 mg per each individual fig, on average, a small serving of dried figs can go a long way in achieving the goal of adequate calcium intake.
One cup of chopped carrots contains 42 mg of Calcium, or about 45% of the RDA. In addition, however, carrots also offer a whopping 400% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for good vision and a healthy immune system. Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which is where they get their orange color. Beta-carotene was actually named for the carrots in which it was first discovered and is another element that promotes good vision. It turns out in this case, all the “old wive’s tales” are actually true – carrots are not only great for your bones, they are great for your vision.
Almonds are most well known for being a convenient source of protein, but 1 ounce of almonds also contains 76 mg of calcium, which is almost 10% of the recommended daily allowance. Not only are they a great source of protein, but they are also packed with fiber. That can help you lose weight, and monounsaturated fat that can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol. These dairy-free calcium rich treats also feature iron, potassium, and vitamin E.
This tropical fruit looks rejuvenating because it is. Kiwi provides 34 mg of calcium per 100 g serving. To put that into perspective, a single cup contains 60 mg.
A New York court decided in 1947 that rhubarb, then labeled a vegetable, could be considered a fruit. Despite the identity crisis, what’s solid is rhubarb as a calcium source, containing 348 mg of calcium in a single cup.
In addition to being rich in protein, fiber and potassium, a single serving of white beans also provides more than 15% of the recommended allowance of calcium. Perhaps best of all, white beans are one of a new variety of foods known as “resistant starches.” This means that it’s a carbohydrate that actually resists being broken down in the gut. This allows it to pass through the small intestine without being digested. That leads to a prolonged feeling of fullness and promotes the formation of good bacteria in the gut. Resistant starches are particularly important for diabetes sufferers. As they are particularly effective at helping balance blood sugars.
Black-eyed peas are another type of bean you should try if you’re looking for dairy free sources of calcium. Black-eyed peas have calcium, folate, potassium, and other nutrients you need. When freshly shelled, all black eyed peas are green, but turn the traditional buff color when dried. Another variation of the black eyed pea is the purple hull pea. This pea is usually green with a purple or pink eye. One half cup of black eyed peas contains nearly 20% of the recommended allowance of calcium. They’re great when you season them and put them in a slow cooker with ham and some vegetables.
By far the gran daddy of all calcium rich foods, just a single 3 oz serving of canned sardines contain a whopping 325 mg of calcium or nearly 33% of the RDA. If you’re looking for calcium content in sardines, however, you want to be sure and find the kind that contain bones. The bones are actually soft and edible, so you don’t have to worry about choking on them. As strange as it may seem to eat fish with the bones still intact, it’s a requirement for sardines, since the bones are where all the calcium comes from. While sardines are not for everyone, for those that can actually stomach both the bones and the strong fishy taste, sardines are by far the very best non-dairy source of calcium.
Signs of Calcium Deficiency
- Weak and Brittle Nails
- Dry / Rough Skin
- Teeth changing color / Tooth decay
- Insomnia / Sleep disorder
- Muscle Cramping
- Head Sweating
- Bone Fractures
Your body can take up about 500 mg of calcium at a time. Although the daily requirement is about 1000-1200 mg, it is better you split the total into small doses of 500 mg across the day to ensure maximum absorption of calcium.
Calcium Health Benefits
Research has repeatedly discovered relationships between calcium deficiency and serious illness such as osteoporosis. Blood calcium is tightly controlled since it plays so many critical functions, including balancing your body’s acid/alkaline body and pH. The body borrows calcium from the bones as needed. In fact, this happens so often that the bones are actually rebuilt about every 10 years. Calcium is also important for controlling levels of magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in the blood and blood clotting. Certain clinical studies have found that there is a connection between higher calcium intake from foods high in calcium and lower body weight. It is believed that calcium in the diet can bind to fat in the digestive system, helping it be excreted and possibly preventing some fat absorption.
Calcium reduces risks during pregnancy and assists the movement of sperm to the egg during fertilization. Helps in the smooth circulation of blood throughout your body. Ensures that the endocrine system runs without hassles. Maintains the muscles, tendons and ligaments, which is important for flexibility. Regulates the heart rate and hypertension. Controls cholesterol and lipid absorption in the intestines.