10 calcium-rich foods that will make your bones stronger, heart healthy
Among all the minerals your body requires, calcium is one of the most critical. Primarily found in our bones and teeth, calcium plays a major role in maintaining the bone mass required to support the skeleton. Our body also uses it for its muscle and nerve functions, besides those of the heart. It is therefore imperative that your diet includes the right food that gives your body enough calcium.
Calcium is primarily lost through general bodily processes in the kidneys and colon, and small amounts through sweat. If an individual does not consume the required amount of calcium, the body extracts it from the bones – leading to weakening and an increased risk of fracture.
In order to have strong bones, you need to include these calcium-rich foods in your diet:
Bok Choy: “This is a leafy vegetable that contains 74 mg of calcium (one cup). Also referred to as Chinese cabbage, it contains vitamins A and C, and is low in calories,” says Ramesh Gajria, founder of TrainMe. Have two cups of Bok Choy a day, which amounts to just 18 calories.
Figs: These are smooth, sweet and crunchy fruits that are loaded with 240 mg of calcium per cup, besides being rich in fibre, vitamin K and potassium. Gajria says that as figs are available through the year, it is best to have 3-4 of them every morning, soaked in water on an empty stomach. Being a natural laxative, figs are good for treating constipation and digestive problems too.
Yoghurt: Every 100 grams of yoghurt contain about 85-100 mg of calcium. Yoghurt scores over milk as it is good for those who are lactose intolerant, easy to digest, and cleansing for the digestive tract (as it has good bacteria). This helps keep your stomach in a good condition too.
Cheese: Every 100 gm of cheese contains 721 mg of calcium, besides essential nutrients such as protein, magnesium and vitamin A. As it is both calcium-dense and calorie-rich, it is good to have on occasion to fulfil your daily calcium needs.
Spinach: Gajria believes that spinach should be a big part of one’s lunch or dinner to increase daily calcium intake. Every 100 grams of spinach contain 99 mg of calcium.
Orange: Each orange contains 60 mg of calcium, besides vitamin D that improves calcium absorption into our bones.
Soy milk: “This is good for lactose-intolerant individuals, and can be had every day as a healthy low-fat option during breakfast. Opt for sugar-free soy milk if you want to go low on calories,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atmantan. Hundred grams of soy milk contain about 25 mg of calcium.
Milk: “Milk also has a high bioavailability of calcium, which means that calcium through milk is easily absorbed and utilised by your body. One cup of milk (100 grams) contains 125 mg calcium. You have the option of adding yoghurt as well as fruits like kale and almonds for a sweetened, crunchy taste,” says Dr Kutteri.
Almonds: One serving of almonds contains about 75 mg of calcium, besides healthy fats and protein. A 100-calorie serving (amounting to about 19 almonds) provides 75 mg calcium to your body. You can choose dry, roasted almonds for taste.
Sardines: This variety of edible fish offers 383 mg of calories in a 100-gram serving. Dr Kutteri says that canned sardines are safe and healthy to eat as they contain only 200 calories and 400 mg of sodium.