Are you getting enough calcium-rich foods in your diet? Calcium is essential for bone health, and it’s also responsible for keeping your skeletal system working correctly as well as your organs. While you can take supplements, this mineral is found in the foods you eat.
How can you be sure you’re getting the proper amount of calcium-rich foods you need to keep your levels therapeutic? Nutritionists study the appropriate foods and combinations the body needs for optimal health.
According to the experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), being calcium-deficient is a primary reason we lose bone density at older age. The complications that could result are brittle bones, osteopenia, and osteoporosis, to name a few.
Try These Fifteen Calcium-Rich Foods
Here are the 15 best foods that are rich in calcium you should be eating.
Dairy products are a great source of calcium, and there are so many to choose from. One cup of plain yogurt has over 440 mg of calcium? Wow, that’s a fantastic amount. Now, if you plop some blueberries or strawberries on top, you will get more protein and fiber, as well as some added sweetness.
Eating sardines seems scary to most people. Canned seafood is an acquired taste, but the sky is limiting what you can do with these little fishes. Sardines are full of nutrients. Did you know that the average four-ounce can have more than 350 milligrams of calcium? If you can’t stomach the smell from these fish, you should try canned shrimp. A three-ounce serving of these prawns is around 120 mg of calcium.
Plant foods are among the most calcium-rich. One cup of cooked kale has more than 170 mg of calcium, but the raw only has 53 mg. Unlike milk, your body can easily absorb the calcium in these greens.
Be careful because not all greens are created equal. Spinach has a great deal of calcium, but it’s not as easy for the body to absorb because of the oxalic acid in it. Plus, kale is an excellent sore of protein and can help satisfy cravings for salty chips when baked and sprinkled with salt.
Cheese is a tasty dairy product that gives you a lot of calcium, but the quantity will depend on the type you eat. Cheddar is a popular choice and a good option. It has almost 200 mg per ounce. If you like mozzarella, then you can get about 225 mg of calcium from one house. Parmesan will give you the highest amount at over 330 mg.
Do you like cottage cheese? While it’s not technically a cheese, since it’s made from mild curds is a dairy product with lots of calcium. If you can’t do yogurt, you might want to try this product as it has 250 mg of calcium in one cup. Additionally, the protein level is not shabby, either at 23 grams.
If you’ve never tried tofu, now is the time to start. When it comes to calcium-rich foods, this one is one to consider. Did you know that if you eat just a half-cup of fortified tofu, you can get up to 800 mg of calcium?
Vegans and vegetarians love this soy-based product because it’s an easy way to get some extra iron, fiber, and protein into their diets. Remember, the options are limitless with tofu because it takes on the taste of whatever seasonings you use.
If you’re into greens, then you need to make sure you are eating enough broccoli. One cup of these tree-like stalks can give you 40 mg of calcium. Some people don’t like the crunchiness of this veggie when it’s raw so that you can cook it too. On top of the healthy dose of calcium, you will also get potassium, Vitamins C and A, as well as plenty of fiber.
7. Bok Choy
Bok choy is also called Chinese cabbage as it’s used in many Asian dishes. If you need some calcium-rich foods in your life, then you should consider this one. One cup will give you over 70 mg of calcium, but if you cook it, then it jumps to over 150 mg.
Thankfully, your body will absorb most of the vital minerals from this plant too.
8. Dried Figs
Many people watching their waistline prefer figs because they give some sweetness without a lot of calories. If you were to eat four figs, then you would get about 60 mg of calcium. Don’t forget that they also come with a nice punch of fiber and potassium.
These fruits often go unnoticed, but they should be in everyone’s home.
If you were to eat about one-fourth of a cup of almonds each day, you would consume around 100 mg of calcium. Now, the only downside with this popular nut is that they are higher in calories. They will, however, give you plenty of healthy fats and fiber.
10. Whey Protein Powder
Those who want to build strong muscles often turn to whey protein powder for help. It’s also used in many recipes in Keto diets and other low carb eating plans. While it’s great for low calories and sugars, it has a fantastic amount of calcium.
Just one scoop of this powder can give you 90 mg of calcium. Did you know that this powder is made from cow’s milk, so it’s easy to see why it’s so high in calcium? The only word of caution is to avoid those that are made with artificial sweeteners or that have high sugar content.
Chia seeds add a little crunch to your foods, and you can use them on just about anything. Eating two tablespoons of these seeds each day will give you around 180 mg of calcium. If you like sesame seeds, then you can get 280 mg for around the same amount.
Your calcium-rich foods list should include nuts, grains, seeds, soy, and beans.
So, soy milk isn’t as popular as cow’s milk, but it’s a great nutrition source. You can enjoy it with other calcium-rich foods for a real boost of this mineral. These plant-based kinds of milk are every bit as nutritious as the different varieties.
Additionally, avoid any of these plant kinds of milk fortified with tricalcium phosphate as it doesn’t have near the calcium content. A serving of these dairy-free milk options is about two cups, and it has around eight milligrams of calcium.
13. Fortified Cereal
You need calcium-rich foods to eat with your soy milk. Why not try a fortified cereal? Now, you must be careful when shopping for cereal because they will put all sorts of catchphrases on the outside to lure in a new customer.
The real story is on the label on the back of the box. First, you want a cereal that provides plenty of whole grains as well as low sugar. You want to stay with a brand that has less than ten grams per serving.
You want to have at least five grams of fiber, which will help to fill you up. One serving of cereal that is fortified with calcium can have up to 1,000 mg of this mineral. It’s genuinely one of the best calcium-rich foods to have in your pantry.
14. Trail Mix
Who would think that trail mix would be one a calcium-rich food? Now keep in mind that not all trail mixes are created equally. The additives to each one are different, and it can affect the calcium levels.
Find a trail mix with some almonds, cashews, or pretzels as well as some dried fruit and yogurt covered raisins. When you find one that has some of these offerings, then it’s a nutrient win. One cup of the right blend can give you about 50 grams of calcium.
15. Orange Juice
Nothing tastes better than an ice-cold glass of calcium-fortified orange juice for breakfast. The health benefits of freshly squeezed orange juice have not gone unnoticed. You need the Vitamin C it provides to fight off illnesses and boost your immunity.
By drinking just one cup of nature’s elixir, you’re getting a whopping 350 mg of calcium. Other benefits include potassium, Vitamins, C, A, and D, and magnesium.
As you age, your bone health becomes even more important to you. Conditions like osteoporosis can creep up on you after years of deficiency in your nutrition. It’s never too late to undo the past by eating a healthy diet full of calcium-rich foods and other vital nutrients.
You don’t need to make any drastic changes to your diet. Just start small like a yogurt or cereal with soy milk for breakfast. For lunch, you can incorporate things like trail mix, some almonds or figs, and a nice salad. And find little ways to add these foods to your evening meal, as well–perhaps some canned shrimp over a kale salad.
Find little ways to increase your calcium-rich food intake daily, and your bones will thank you.