Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body.
Though its most known for strengthening teeth and bones, it is also vital for maintaining healthy cells , hormone secretion, blood coagulation, as well as playing an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation.
In short, the body needs calcium to function.
As such there are a range of problems and health risks that can arise from having insufficient calcium. Calcium deficiency is surprisingly common and is considered by some to be a global public health problem, as such it is important to consider your own calcium intake.
Some problems are extremely serious, not only are you at a higher risk of developing diseases like Osteoporosis, but you can develop weak nails, hair loss, and even seizures.
The Warning signs of Calcium deficiency:
- Lethargy or being overly fatigued
If you find yourself usually tired during the day when there is no cause for it, this could be warning sign.
- Tooth Decay
If you find that your teeth are often aching , or feeling unusually sensitive, or even that there are visible holes in your teeth, this could be a sign of tooth decay, and with it, that you they are not being maintained through calcium intake.
- Muscle weakness
If you find you find yourself becoming strangely weaker. This could be a symptom that they aren’t being maintained through calcium.
If any of these sound familiar, its worth considering boosting your calcium with calcium rich foods (there is a list of such foods below), talking to your doctor, or cutting down on food which affect calcium absorption.
Foods which affect Calcium absorption
Surprisingly, improving Calcium levels in the body is not just about consuming Calcium rich foods, but also slightly decreasing your intake of foods which affect the way Calcium is absorbed into the body.
As such consuming them can negatively affect the calcium levels in the human body.
The following foods, nutrients, and minerals have this effect.
Sodium is common in a great many food types (not just kinds which contain high levels of salt). In particular pre-packaged or pre-prepared meals, and canned foods and sauces are rich in Sodium.
Sodium affects Calcium in your body by increasing the amount of Calcium excreted through your urine. So if you are consuming calcium rich foods and Sodium rich foods, some of the calcium consumed could be totally wasted by the Sodium.
Caffeine has a small affect on both the levels of Calcium the body takes in, and the levels the body excretes. For example a cup of coffee causes a loss of roughly 3 milligrams of Calcium.
Alcohol has been shown to negatively affect the way Calcium is absorbed into the body. However exactly how much is lost, and how much alcohol is required is as of yet unknown.
Top 10 Calcium Rich Foods That You Can Add To Your Diet
Its recommended that you consume and absorb 1000 – 1,500 milligrams of Calcium per day, what should you consume to best reach this number? Here are top 10 Calcium rich foods that you need for a boost!
Though there has been some doubt cast about how good milk is as a source of Calcium due to its high levels of fat and protein. I feel the math speaks for itself One glass of milk contains roughly 300 milligrams of Calcium. Less than half of this amount (131 milligrams) will be lost in the processing of the protein. As such you’ll gain 169 milligrams of Calcium.
All dairy products are sensational sources of Calcium. One ounce of Cheese contains a staggering 224 milligrams of Calcium. However, like milk, cheese is quite fatty and thus I recommend it be consumed in moderation.
Cheese is of course, incredibly versatile, if used in conjunction with a meal featuring one or more of the foods on this list, you’ll get a great amount of Calcium quite easily.
Broccoli is a pretty miraculous vegetable.
A handful of Broccoli can contain more than 86 milligrams of Calcium. What’s more, surprisingly Broccoli contain more Vitamin C than an Orange , so an increase in Broccoli in your diet is very much recommended.
Like Broccoli, Kale is incredibly nutritious. A 13 grams of cooked Kale will provide you at least 93 of milligrams of Calcium as well as being a fantastic source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
I recommend stir fried Kale and Broccoli as a good, easy, and calcium rich recipe to try.
Figs are a delicious, calcium rich fruit. In fact, 8 dry figs contain as much as 107 milligrams of Calcium, 10% of your daily recommended intake.
As they are great by themselves, they make an easy, uncomplicated snack. However Fig Jam is also a great source of Calcium.
Oranges, as you well know are a rich source of Vitamin C, but also, a single orange can contain more than 65 milligrams of Calcium. Like Figs, they are delicious by themselves. However I think they are best enjoyed in a class of (fresh, not from concentrate) orange juice.
Tofu is most known as a vegetarian meat/protein substitute, however it is also a fantastic and rich source of Calcium. Half a cup of Tofu can contain almost half of your daily recommended Calcium intake. Its important to note that the amount of Calcium in Tofu is dependent on the agent used to prepare the Tofu before packaging and selling. There should be an indication of the levels of Calcium in each packet of Tofu.
As it is a staple of Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking, it is extremely versatile. It takes the taste of whatever it is cooked with.
For a calcium and protein rich breakfast, I recommend Tofu Breakfast Tacos
Almonds are a nutritional powerhouse, containing a healthy amount of protein, Vitamin E, and Potassium. Though they contain fat, the fat contained is monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol levels.
One ounce of Almonds contains as much as 75 milligrams of Calcium.
Like Figs and Oranges, they can be enjoyed by themselves as a healthy snack.
Raw or cooked, these little beans pack a powerful amount of Calcium. 80 Grams raw, or 200 grams cooked white beans will give you 132 milligrams of Calcium. Also white beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and Iron. Making them a great addition to your diet
A delicious recipe using white beans has got to be Ravioli With Tomatoes, White Beans, and Escarole a meal that is quick to prepare, and one that contains 270 milligrams of Calcium per serving.
Sardines, while salty, are an extremely nutritious fish. An ordinary tin or can of Sardines, will be packed with Calcium (for example: 60 grams of Sardines amounts to as much as 351 milligrams of Calcium.
But that’s not all, Sardines are also an extremely rich source of Vitamin D, an essential vitamin that is somewhat rare in food.
A fancy Sardines recipe comes from Jamie Oliver, Harissa sardines with couscous salad