Though the world has been pretty obsessed with milk in recent decades, the ads companies weren’t wrong about the need for sufficient calcium in our diets. (Just debatably about it having to come from a cow.)
Vital for strong healthy bones and teeth, a key player in blood clotting, muscle contractions, regulating the nervous system and heart rhythms, as well as being important in pregnant, calcium is one of the major nutritional must-haves.
How much calcium do you need a day? The NHS recommends 700mg daily for adults between 19-64 years of age.
It’s worth nothing that, though there are plenty of calcium-rich vegan foods, the calcium in dairy products is more easily absorbed than plant-based sources. This is because vitamin D, which is naturally present in dairy, is required for calcium to be absorbed by the body.
So let’s talk calcium-rich foods…
Which healthy foods are high in calcium?
So far, so easy to sprinkle — just a portion of seeds (one tablespoon), such as poppy, sesame and chia seeds, contains 126 mg of calcium.
Kind of cheating as it basically is milk, hard cheese packs more calcium than softer varieties. A thumb-sized bit of Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss, Edam, Gouda or Gruyere has 120 calories and 180 mg of calcium.
The important thing here is that it still contains the bones, so mackerel, sardines and anchovies work too. A serving (140g) of canned salmon has 350mg of calcium. Not feeling it? Try it in fish cakes.
Another semi-cheat, but yoghurt is — unsurprisingly — a solid source of calcium. Low fat and diet varieties are higher in calcium, with 210 per serving.
Not something you necessarily thought you’d seen on this list of calcium-rich foods, the vitamin is added to tortillas — so one contains between 115-150mg.
Green leafy veg
Just one fig packs 13.5mg calcium — which amounts to 162mg per 100gm about 3.2 times more than other fruits.
Another regular on healthy food lists, soy beans are high in calcium — and so are foods made from them, such as tofu (350mg/100g), tempeh (111mg/100g) and miso (57mg/100g).
A cruciferous vegetable rather than a leafy green, broccoli is also rich in calcium — with around 42mg per cup.
An easy way to get your daily calcium, just one orange has between 50-70mg, depending on the size. You know what they say: an orange a day…
Beans and lentils
Nutrient-rich and easy on the food budget, legumes are great sources of calcium. Chickpeas contain 80mg per cup and pinto beans aren’t far behind with 75mg.
Is there anything almonds can’t do? Packed with healthy fats, fibre, magnesium, vitamin E and 264mg of calcium.
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