6 calcium-rich foods to keep your bones strong

VSAlcium is the most abundant mineral in the bodyand it is essential for performing a wide variety of functions of build strong bones and teeth to stimulate muscle function and even secrete hormones. However, although calcium intake has long been associated with milk consumption, there are plenty of other nutritious and delicious calcium-rich foods to include in your meals throughout the day.

Renowned functional medicine expert and best-selling author Mark Hyman, MD, shared via Instagram that many calcium-rich foods are actually dairy-free and still offer a plethora of other health benefits to keep you feeling your best. Check out her favorite calcium-rich foods, plus some dietitian favorites Suzanne Pirkle, MA, RDN, CED-Sto ensure you get your 1000mg daily recommendation is simple and delicious, whether or not you follow a plant-based diet.

The benefits of calcium

‘Almost every cell in your body uses calcium in one way or another,’ says dietitian Carissa Galloway, RDN. “Not only is it essential for strong teeth and bones – 99% of the body’s calcium is in our teeth and bones – calcium is [also] used by our nervous system and regulates muscle contraction. Calcium plays a important role in blood clotting and help to prevent and treat osteoporosisShe adds.

How much calcium should you consume?

“Like any other nutrient, the amount of calcium you need depends on several factors, including age and gender,” explains the dietitian. Jennifer Maen |, MS, RD. “That being said, the recommended dietary intake of calcium is around 1,000 mg per day for the average person. However, teenagers, post-menopausal women and adults over 70 need more than that. .

To make sure the calcium you’re consuming is as effective as possible, Maeng says it’s important to get enough vitamin D, too. “Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium,” she says. “Even if you get enough calcium, a lack of vitamin D will not allow your body to use the calcium and derive health benefits from it.”

The Best Calcium-Rich Foods to Keep Bones and Muscles Strong

1. Nuts and seeds

Seeds are part of most nutrient dense foods there, and they also happen to be super high in calcium. Pirkle particularly relies on sesame, chia, sunflower and poppy seeds to boost its intake. “Sesame seeds alone contain an impressive 351 mg per 1/4 cup serving, which is more than a third of the daily recommendation,” she says.

Although you may not be encouraged to consume a quarter cup of sesame seeds at a time, you can easily spread your intake throughout the day. They make a great salad topper for add an inflammatory crunch and make a great addition to a smoothie or your favorite energy bites recipe for a pre or post workout boost. Plus, tahini counts towards your intake, so start watering!

As for nuts, “almonds are great for snacking and a good source of those ‘better for you’ polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats,” she says. “All nuts provide calcium, but almonds give you the most, at about 246 mg per cup, while also providing other minerals like magnesium.”

2. Dark leafy greens

Many of us grew up associating spinach with strong muscles, as Popeye was known to promote dark leafy greens. While he’s certainly not wrong, know that other family members are equally beneficial. Take collard greens, for example. According to Dr. Hyman, sprouts offer a whopping 268 mg per cup, not to mention a high dose of vitamin B6 and sleep-promoting tryptophan. Pirkle also likes kale, turnip greens, and dandelion greens for a calcium boost.

Try to mix up your intake by alternating the type of dark leafy greens you buy for salads, smoothies and more each week to not only get a great source of calcium, but also a diverse range of vitamins and minerals. dandelion leavesfor example, are great for your liver and are a good source of potassium, while turnip greens deliver a double dose of bone health benefits as they pack 153 percent of your daily vitamin K needs in one cup.

3. Cheese

Pizza lovers, it’s time to shine. Mozzarella in particular is a excellent source of calcium, boasting 333 mg per 1.5 ounce serving, which is equivalent to a third of your daily needs. In addition to making a delicious topping for Margherita pizza, mozzarella is a tasty pairing in seasonal salads with the freshest fruits, vegetables and herbs. Try topping your Caprese salad with a sprinkle of sesame seeds or adding a bunch of spinach to your favorite pasta to further increase your calcium intake. And do not hesitate to add a little parmesan on your salad. “One ounce of parmesan cheese contains about 314 mg of calcium,” Maeng explains.

4. Canned fish

Canned fish, especially sardines and salmon, is another favorite among dietitians. Sardines not only have one of the highest calcium levels per serving (351 mg per can, according to Dr. Hyman), but they are also a first source of phosphorus and a good source of vitamin D, which are also essential for building strong bones, muscles and teeth.

Canned salmon, on the other hand, has an impressive 826 mg of calcium per box, more than 80% of what you need every day. More, salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health and increase longevity. Canned seafood is a staple in the kitchen for preparing a easy pantry meals in minutes, whether it’s a juicy salmon burger or sardine pasta.

5. I am food

We are well aware that tofu and other foods containing soy serve as excellent source of vegetable protein. However, tofu too offers 61 mg of calcium per serving– and many brands are fortified with extra calcium for an even bigger dose of the mineral. Tofu also contains iron and ALA omega-3s, which further promote heart health and help fight inflammation.

Another great thing about tofu is its versatility. Try it in a stir fry or turn it into vegetable ricotta. Blend it into a smoothie or use it as substitute scrambled eggs for a calcium boost first thing in the morning. If you want to explore other forms of soy, Pirkle adds that edamame provides about five percent of your daily requirement while a cup of fortified soy milk offers 23 percenton average.

6. Yogurt

Prefer something creamy in the morning? Try adding yogurt to your morning breakfast to boost your calcium intake. This food is one of the best sources of minerals, providing 415 mg per eight-ounce serving plain low-fat yogurt. Look for a probiotic-filled yogurt to further improve your heart health-it will be delicious as is or when added to a smoothieovernight oats recipe, or paired with chopped nuts and berries for a magnesium-rich bedtime snack.

7. Milk

Perhaps the most obvious calcium-rich food, “a cup of cow’s milk contains between 300 and 325 mg of calcium depending on the milk fat percentage, or about 25 percent of the daily value,” says Maeng. “Goat’s milk also contains about 330 mg or 25% of the daily value of calcium per cup.”

8. Beans

Some sources of calcium are particularly affordable. “A cup of chickpeas provides about 244 mg of calcium,” says one dietitian. Carissa GallowayRDN.

Can we consume too much calcium?

Hypercalcemia is a condition associated with high calcium levelssays dietitian Kim Rose, RDN. Excessive calcium intake can cause excessive thirst and urination as well as nausea, vomiting, constipation and confusion. However, it is very rare to develop this condition as a result of ingesting calcium-rich foods. “There is an upper limit to calcium intake. Typically, this happens when a person gets too much calcium through supplementation, not when they get too much calcium from their diet,” says Galloway. “Adults should not consume more than 2,000 mg of calcium per day.”

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