Top Food Sources Of Calcium
By Jenna Barrington
You’ve been hearing about the importance of calcium since you were old enough to know you have bones and teeth.
Calcium is indeed an important mineral to maintain good health. As with other nutrients, the best way to get it is from whole foods.
7 Reasons Why You Need Calcium
1. Strong Bones And Teeth
It has long been agreed that calcium is important for growing and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Almost all calcium is stored in the bones where it’s believed to provide major support for their structure and strength.
2. Nervous System Communication
Calcium is important for the nervous system – without calcium, the nerves would be unable to carry messages between the brain and the various parts of the body.
3. Weight Management
Scientific studies over the past few decades have shown a connection between dietary calcium and successful weight management. It is believed that calcium helps to keep you slim, because it promotes more fat-burning versus fat-storing.
4. Soothe Symptoms Of PMS
Some of the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS have been linked to calcium deficiency. When you don’t get enough calcium, it can throw off hormone regulation, which can lead to physical symptoms often associated with the monthly cycle.
5. Cancer Prevention
A diet rich in the right vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients is vital to avoiding cancer and other chronic conditions. Maintaining good calcium levels may help to ward off colorectal, ovarian and breast cancers.
6. Healthy Heart And Blood Vessels
Calcium plays a role in helping to move blood throughout the body. Some studies suggest that adequate calcium intake (from whole foods, not supplements) may be linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
How Much Do We Need Daily?
How much calcium you need per day can vary depending on your age, lifestyle and current health situation.
The recommended dietary allowance of calcium is as follows:
- Children (ages 1-3): 500 milligrams daily
- Children (ages 4-8): 800 milligrams daily
- Youth (ages 9-18): 1300 milligrams daily
- Adults (ages 19-50): 1000 milligrams daily
- Adults (51+): 1200 milligrams daily
Top Foods High In Calcium
One cup of almonds contains 38% of your daily calcium need. Almonds are also a natural pain reliever, full of healthy fats and protein; they may also reduce risk of heart attack and may help with weight management. Regular nut consumption has been linked to longevity and better health.
Canned sardines contain between 38-57% your daily calcium need. Always try to buy wild-caught sardines.
Dark Leafy Greens
Adding lots of dark leafy greens to your diet can help you get your daily calcium need along with lots of other important vitamins and minerals. You can put these in raw salads, throw a handful into stir-fries, juice them or put them in smoothies.
One serving of chinese, red or green cabbage contains around 7-11% your daily need of calcium.
One serving of okra contains 12% of your daily calcium need. This is a unique, bitter vegetable that tastes best when lightly steamed or added to stirfries.
One serving of broccoli contains 4% or more of your daily calcium need. Broccoli is also good for the nervous system, blood pressure levels, boosting the immune system and preventing sun damage.
If you choose to take calcium supplements, always consult with a physician on dosage.
You can get plenty of calcium naturally when you fill your diet with whole foods. It has been shown that vitamins and minerals are much more bioavailable when taken in the form of whole foods.
Mother Nature has got your back, friend!
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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