From the moment we are born we are already consuming calcium. It’s an important part of our bodies! Growing up, we are told that calcium is essential for strong bones and strong teeth, so we drank our glass of milk every day.
Now that we’re older, calcium is still an integral part of a healthy body. In fact, calcium is an essential mineral within the body. It helps with muscle function, nerve transmission, hormones and, of course, bones and dental health. The older we get, the more our bones start to break down and so the need for calcium is more pronounced. And yet it seems we don’t take in as much as we should.
The best way to get any nutrient is from the foods we eat. Therefore calcium rich foods should be consumed – and we’re not just talking about dairy. Many alternative foods beside dairy contain calcium. So you can enjoy a calcium rich diet for strong bones with a variety of foods.
Health benefits of calcium
When it comes to calcium, there are many benefits. For starters, calcium benefits our mouths. Not only does it keep our teeth strong but as noted in one long-term study, those who consumed half of the recommended serving of calcium were at higher risk to develop gum disease.
Calcium may also aid in weight management. Numerous studies have uncovered that those who consume calcium experience healthier weight. It’s been theorized that calcium reduces fat absorption and, as such, leaves us lighter.
Lastly, calcium plays its largest role within our bones. After the age of 30 – where we reach our peak bone mass – our bones can become weaker. If we consumed the majority of calcium in our youth, then we can effectively slow down bone loss in our senior years.
Recommended intake for calcium among seniors is 1,200 mg per day. Instead of taking calcium supplements, the easiest way to get your daily dose is through calcium rich foods.
With calcium being so important, a calcium deficiency, in turn, can harm us. Calcium deficiency symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Brittles nails
- Dry skin
- Weakened bones
- Tooth decay.
Calcium deficiency symptoms can then lead to ailments such as kidney stones and osteoporosis. You may also find you’re more prone to bone fractures and breaks.
Top calcium rich foods
Now that you have a better understanding of calcium, here are the top calcium rich foods to incorporate into your calcium rich diet for strong bones.
Vegetables: Most dark, leafy greens will pack calcium but the most calcium rich food in the leafy green category is collard greens. A typical serving is eight ounces and along with that, it packs 360 mg of calcium! Not bad for something that isn’t dairy.
Furthermore, broccoli rabe and kale respectively provide 200 mg and 180 mg per eight-ounce serving. Therefore you don’t strictly have to stick with dairy in order to get your daily intake of calcium.
Seafood: If you’re looking for a fish alternative for calcium rich foods, look no further than sardines, salmon and shrimp. By consuming these items you can get between 125 to 325 mg of calcium per serving!
Dairy: If you wish to stick with dairy to incorporate into your calcium rich diet for strong bones,
your best options are partly skimmed ricotta, low-fat plain yogurt and milk. These calcium rich foods provide between 300 to 355 mg of calcium per serving.
If you’re looking for variety for your calcium rich diet for strong bones, give these top calcium rich foods a try! Now that you know what to eat, let’s learn how to eat them.
Calcium rich food recipes
Because the calcium rich foods include dark, leafy greens, these can easily be incorporated into a salad.
Calcium Rich Kale Salad
Using chopped kale as your base, add additional calcium rich foods like almonds, beans, dried figs and maybe some oranges. Dress with a little olive oil and vinegar and toss! The great things about salads are you can add in all the items you enjoy eating.
If you incorporate additional calcium rich foods in your salad you can further enhance your calcium rich diet for strong bones.
When it comes to the seafood, sardines can be easily eaten from the can, so they can be added to other meals or enjoyed on their own. There are endless ways to cook salmon and shrimp including on the BBQ or baked in the oven with some lemon slices. Enjoying a healthy serving of fish is also important to receive omega-3s – another nutrient essential to proper health.
Lastly, dairy products can be a great snack on their own or enjoyed with other food items. Milk can be used in baking or poured over calcium-fortified cereal. Yogurt is easy to take with you on the go and cheese can be added to just about anything.
No matter how you enjoy these calcium rich foods, know that you’re doing your body good in the long-run.
Calcium and the body
Our bodies need calcium, that’s why we get such an early start on it. As an essential mineral it’s important to maintain healthy calcium levels to keep our bones and teeth strong and skin and nails looking great.
These calcium rich foods are a great way to take in calcium on a regular basis. By incorporating a calcium rich food diet for strong bones into your life, you won’t have to worry about broken nails, fractures or even broken bones.
The older we get, the more important calcium becomes, so why not create some calcium rich recipes with these food items and start feeling stronger today!