Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

5 Useful Tips To Increase Calcium Intake

5 Useful Tips To Increase Calcium Intake

Calcium is widely known as one of the most essential minerals to keep your health staying strong and healthy. The absorption of calcium is extremely important for improving teeth and bone health, as well as strengthening weak legs. Calcium aids in controlling nerve and muscle function, as well as regulating the acid balance (pH) in your blood.

Your body is loaded with more calcium than another mineral; it occupies nearly 99% in the bone as well as teeth. The other 1% is contained in the muscle, other body tissues, and fluid.[1]

Advertising

You should note that the lack of calcium can lead to some serious health diseases. Once calcium is not taken enough, your bones might get weak, brittle, or even soft. If remained untreated, calcium deprivation can result in osteoporosis or rickets. Memory loss, depression, muscle spams or numbness in various parts of the body such as the hands and feet are also triggered by calcium deficiency. To help fix the calcium deprivation in the body, it is necessary to make some changes in your daily diets and current lifestyle habits.

1. Get enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays a critical role in raising the absorption of calcium levels in your body. Parents should bear in mind that once vitamin D is not provided enough, children are more prone to contracting rickets. One of the most natural ways to increase the intake of Vitamin D is to spend several minutes under the sun per day; strictly monitor this, though, since excessive exposure to sunlight can lead to skin cancer. Also, you had better avoid direct sunlight between the mid-morning and early afternoon hours; do remember to put on skin protection when going out during those times.

Advertising

Another good way to get enough Vitamin D is consuming Vitamin D-rich foods. Eating some fortified dairy products or drinking fortified milk is highly recommended. You can opt for other vitamins and nutrients that help raise the calcium intake consisting of boron, magnesium, and Vitamin K. Before using any supplement, try to consult your doctors to ask for proper dosages.

2. Give up drinking soda.

Drinking soda can pause your process of absorbing calcium; therefore, it is better to stay away from this drink. An excessive consumption of soda beverages can trigger a sudden raise in the phosphate levels present in your blood. High levels of phosphates prevent calcium consumption.[2] Also, if you drink alcohol, keep it at a moderate amount as well.

Advertising

3. Avoid excessive caffeine.

There is no doubt that lots of people choose to start their day by drinking a cup of coffee, but, when suffering from calcium deprivation, you are not allowed to drink more coffee. Caffeine present in coffee can leach calcium from bones, thereby depleting their strength. If you cannot quit coffee, then drinking less than 2 cups of coffee per day suffices. To help minimize the effect of caffeine, you can include some milk into your coffee. Drinking green tea or any other herbal teas are good alternatives.

4. Reduce high consumption of sodium.

Sodium intake can make the body use calcium, which is zapped from the bones. All you need to do is to add spices or herbs to flavor your food instead of including salt. At the same time, you should strive to avoid processed foods, since they can also include high amounts of sodium.

Advertising

5. Consume more foods rich in calcium.

There is a wide variety of good foods high in calcium that you can feel free to opt for. Some of these foods are composed of:

  • Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt
  • Soybeans or another soy products
  • Non-fat milk or skim milk
  • Sardines
  • Fortified cereals
  • Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens

Rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, orange juice or breakfast cereals are some other well-known examples of calcium-fortified foods.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cervera via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Institutes of Health: Calcium
[2] Oregon State University: Calcium

More by this author

Ashley Bennet

Health and Nutrition Consultant

5 Useful Tips To Increase Calcium Intake

Trending in Diet & Nutrition

1 How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week 2 13 Best Food To Eat For Weight Loss And Energy 3 7 Homemade Diet Foods That Are Good For Your Health 4 10 Best Low Calorie Foods That Help You Lose Weight Fast 5 20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 14, 2021

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
  • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
  • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
  • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
  • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
  • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

Calorie Counting

A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

Advertising

The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

How to Balance Your Plate

When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

Advertising

  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
  • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
  • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
  • A spoon of unsaturated oil

This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

An Example Day

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • A handful of mixed nuts

Lunch

  • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • Apple slices with nut butter

Dinner

  • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
  • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
  • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
  • A piece of fruit

How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

When You’re Pregnant

During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

You should also avoid the following food groups:

Advertising

  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Pâté
  • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
  • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
  • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Liquorice root
  • Alcohol

When You’re Breastfeeding

While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

When Going Through Menopause

Menopause

changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

  • 1200mg calcium per day
  • High-quality protein at every meal
  • Foods rich in vitamin K
  • Foods rich in phosphorus
  • Foods rich in magnesium

Organizing Your Shopping

Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

Advertising

Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

More on Healthy Eating

Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next