Natural Sources of Calcium
Everyone knows that milk is rich in calcium, but that’s just the start of the list for natural sources of this important mineral. Calcium cannot be produced naturally by the body, but it’s vitally important if you want strong teeth and bones, a healthy hormone balance, and many other proper body functions.
Calcium, which can be found in a variety of foods, can only be absorbed properly in the body when paired with an adequate amount of magnesium and Vitamin D. So, be sure to spend at least 20 minutes a day in the sunshine every day—or take a supplement—to make sure you’re getting enough.
Everyone needs calcium, but women do especially. Adults should get 1,000 mg every day, while women over 50 (or who are pregnant and breast-feeding) should take an additional 200 mg extra, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you don’t get enough calcium, you can be at risk for osteoporosis, a disease that leads to brittle bones that can break easily. That’s because the body stores calcium in your bones. That’s why it’s important for growing children and teenagers to consume enough calcium, too.
While supplements can help, there are many natural sources of calcium you may enjoy. Often, people think that dairy is the only means of ingesting this mineral. But even people who are lactose intolerant or prefer to follow a vegan lifestyle can consume enough calcium every day to maintain optimum health and wellbeing.
Natural sources of calcium include:
- Dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. One glass of milk has about 125 mg.
- Collared greens, which have a whooping 268 mg in a cooked cup. Serve them country-style with macaroni and cheese and chicken, or gourmet with tempeh.
- White beans, which pack 175 mg per serving and are a popular addition to pasta.
- Navy beans, with 127 mg. These beans are ideal in stews.
- Kale, another dark leafy green. This superfood has 101 mg per raw cup. Try rubbing raw kale lightly with olive oil until soft for a healthy base for a salad.
- Broccoli, offering 86 mg in every two cups of florets and peeled stems.
- Tofu, with a shocking 406 mg for a quarter of a block. Tofu is an extremely versatile food that can be used as a main course with sauces or spices, in creamy desserts with citrus, or as an ingredient in a smoothie.
- Tahini, a sesame paste that is a main ingredient in hummus. A tablespoon has 64 mg.
- Seaweed, which, when dried, is an excellent addition to salads. This Japanese staple, which is also sold in a powdered form as spirulina, has 625 mg per 100 grams.
- Edamame, or a soybean snack that is also common in Japan. It has 98 mg per serving.
- Figs, which have 35 mg for every 100 grams. They can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert both fresh and dried.
- Salmon, especially canned salmon. A half of a can contains 232 mg, or 23% of the daily recommended value.
With a little effort, most everyone can get their calcium through natural sources. However, if you are still struggling, consider a supplement for added support.