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Natural Calcium Sources
- If you are between the ages of 25 and 50, you need 1000 mg of calcium daily. If you’re older or younger, you need more than that.
- Eating almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds can also increase the amount of calcium you are consuming.
Most of us are not getting enough calcium in our diets. If you are between the ages of 25 and 50, you need 1000 mg of calcium daily. If you’re older or younger, you need more than that. To get that much of this important mineral in your diet, you need to know where to find the best calcium sources.
The Question of Supplements
While some people swear by supplements, they do pose some risks. These calcium sources can cause drug interactions and can even lead to serious health problems, like renal damage, if too much is consumed. Also, taking the supplement may not be enough to ensure you are getting what you need. To be absorbed properly, you’ll still need to adjust your diet. For all of these reasons, natural calcium sources are typically the best choices.
Dairy Calcium Sources
When we think of calcium, most of us immediately think about the dairy products. And, of course, these are good sources. Unfortunately, if you are lactose intolerant your body may not be able to handle the dairy products. Furthermore, many dairy products are high in fat and calories which isn’t healthy when consumed in large quantities.
That doesn’t change the fact that milk is still one of the best calcium sources available. Part of the reason is the Vitamin D. In order for our bodies to absorb the calcium, we need to take Vitamin D at the same time. Otherwise, we simply won’t be getting enough of the mineral into our body.
One solution if you’re worried about fat is to look for low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and some types of cottage cheese or milk. Reduced fat cheeses are also good.
Non-Dairy Calcium Sources
If you’re lactose intolerant or if you want to have a broader range of ways to get your calcium, you may want to look into some non-dairy calcium sources as well. Remember that you will usually still need to supplement many of these with Vitamin D rich foods or some sunshine (also a good source of this essential vitamin).
Some vegetables, particularly the leafy green ones, are high in calcium. One cup of cooked spinach, for example, contains 250 mg of calcium. Bean sprouts, any type of greens, and bok choy are all good sources, too. Just remember to choose fresh varieties.
For vegetarians who want to increase their calcium intake, one cup of cooked soybeans contains 450 mg of calcium. Tofu and many types of beans are also good sources of calcium, as well as fiber. Eating almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds can also increase the amount of calcium you are consuming. However, some are high in fat so read the labels.
Another way to boost your calcium intake is by looking for products that have been fortified with this mineral. Orange juice, for instance, is now being sold with extra calcium added in. Some soy products, such as veggie burgers, are sometimes enhanced with calcium. Before you rely on them too much, check the labels for Vitamin D. You still need that combination to get the maximize absorption possible.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Mineral Nutrients11 Nov 2008|