When it comes to calcium, very few of us are getting enough of it in our diets. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegetarian or vegan or you simply don’t like milk, chances are good that you need more calcium.
Many of us who don’t like milk or other dairy products are usually at a loss for other ways to increase our calcium intake without the use of vitamins. Of course it is simplest to get our daily recommended intake of calcium through 3 tall glasses of milk, that isn’t so easy for many people for a wide variety of reasons.
The good news is that there are other foods that are a good source of calcium, which we can add to our diets for calcium, weight loss and many other health benefits. Keep reading to learn more about why you need enough calcium.
Calcium is an essential part of the human diet. Most of us know from our time in grade school that calcium helps maintain strong bones, teeth and hair. But calcium is also important because it helps regular vascular contraction, muscle function, blood pressure and prevents many types of cancer and kidney stones.
Calcium is essential for people of all ages, and it becomes especially important as we age and bones become weaker and more brittle. Just as important as our calcium intake, is that we make sure our bodies are absorbing calcium appropriately, or else none of the benefits will be reaped.
Find out why water might be an optimum source of calcium, here!
The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) sets the standards for nutritional intake, including calcium. The most recent standards for the recommended daily intake of calcium for adults aged 19 to 50 years is 1,000 milligrams each day. The standards for pregnant or lactating women are higher, while the intake for children is much lower.
Now that you know how much calcium you need to ingest and absorb to maintain good health and regulate your weight, let’s find out the best sources to help you get it!
Arugula – 1 cup = 125mg
Eating more salad is at the top of the priority list for all of us, especially if weight loss is the plan. Instead of noshing on iceberg, Romaine or butter lettuce grab a bag (or 2) of arugula the next time you’re at the supermarket.
You may not be a big fan of the bitter stuff, but in addition to being packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, 1 cup of arugula has 125mg of calcium. But if you were to enjoy a full size salad for lunch or dinner, you could up to 400mg with 3 cups of arugula! If you’re feeling up to the challenge adding tofu or sunflower seeds to your salad you can add as little as 50mg or as much as 250mg of calcium.
Sardines – 3 oz. = 325mg
Sardines are an excellent source of calcium, with more than 300mg per serving, so you can add these little fish to your diet in creative ways. You can get them canned in oil or water and in a variety of flavors until you find something that you like.
Whether you like breaded sardines, cooked or raw, adding a few ounces in one way or another can help you get your recommended daily allowance of calcium.
Orange Juice – 6 oz. = 375mg
It’s no secret that oranges are a great source of vitamin C, with just one providing you with more than 60mg of calcium. But the real superstar of the oranges is orange juice. Orange juice, especially fresh squeezed orange juice or store-bought juice that has been fortified with calcium can provide you with more than a quarter of your recommended daily allowance.
Whether you add orange juice to your morning smoothie or drink it straight, the calcium found in each cup will put you that much closer to getting the calcium you need to stay healthy. But more importantly orange juice is a great way to boost your immune system and maintain a healthy weight.
Soy Milk – 8 oz. = 300mg
Getting enough calcium in your diet, whether vegetarian or lactose intolerant can be as simple as replacing that glass of cow milk with a cup of soy milk. You’ll get the same nutritional value and a whopping 300mg of calcium per 8 ounce glass.
In fact if you don’t eat or drink much dairy, consider using soy milk in cooking, oatmeal or cereal to help you get the calcium you need to stay healthy, strong and reach your weight loss goals.
If you need more inspiration to get more calcium, listen to how much this dude looooooves his Milk!
Oatmeal – 1 packet = 105mg
You’re probably thinking to yourself what isn’t oatmeal good for? The answer is simple; oatmeal is good for just about everything. This high fiber breakfast food has often been considered a dietary rock star among those seeking to lose weight, improve digestion or simply eat healthier.
When it comes to calcium, oatmeal doesn’t pack as much of a punch as some foods but one packet of instant oatmeal can give you as much as 105mg of calcium. Since most of us enjoy 2 packets at breakfast, you will get more than 200mg of calcium with your morning breakfast…more if add warm milk to it!
Sesame Seeds – 1 oz. = 280mg
Sesame seeds are unlikely snack of course, but adding them to Asian-inspired dishes can afford you 280mg of calcium in just 1 ounce. You can toast them, enjoy them on a bagel or however you like, but this is a significant source of calcium that can easily be received.
Canned Salmon – 3oz. = 181mg
Some of you may be turning up your nose at the very thought of canned salmon, but the truth is that it is often found in seafood cakes served at restaurants. Canned salmon, the kind with the edible bones can provide a significant source of calcium. Regardless of how you prefer to enjoy it, just 3 ounces of the pink canned salmon can garner you 181mg of calcium.
If of course you can eat just 3 ounces, kudos to you, but chances are good that you’ll up your calcium intake if you have a little more than you should!
So you see, getting more calcium doesn’t mean you need to pack your cart full of dairy products, although they too provide excellent sources of calcium. What you need to do is find what you like among this long list of calcium-rich foods and add more of them to your diet.
Your good health and weight loss depend upon it!