Foods rich in calcium

Calcium is one of the most important for health in all stages of life, so it is necessary to know the foods that contain it.

Our body needs a daily amount of nutrients necessary to stay healthy and strong . These are normally found in food and are what help us to have an ideal functioning. In addition to fats, proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins, we have to provide our body with enough minerals such as calcium , iron, sodium, potassium, etc. All of them can be found in specific foods, so it is important to follow a varied and balanced diet .

Calcium is one of the most important for health in all stages of life. This mineral helps build the structure of bones and teeth as well as contributes to the functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves, including blood clotting. One of its essential functions is to keep our bones strong , especially for the prevention of ailments such as osteoporosis, that is, the loss of bone density and quality and carries a higher risk of bone fractures that can be very serious. One in three women and one in five men will experience an osteoporotic bone fracture in their lifetime. It is also necessary to take into account a greater contribution of this mineral in special groups such as in children and in pregnant women and in menopause.

FOODS RICHEST IN CALCIUM

A balanced and varied diet is very important for perfect health. The contribution of calcium through food is the ideal way to maintain optimal levels in our body. There are foods with more of this mineral in their composition than others and that will help us more in the assimilation of this mineral.

Dairy products are one of the foods that contain the most calcium in their composition, especially milk and yogurt , since 70-80% of their contribution is assimilated. Also, milk products contain a form of calcium that the body can absorb more easily.

    • Milk : in addition to calcium, it is also a source of phosphorus and magnesium , which help maintain healthier bones. During the first two years of life, children should drink whole milk, but, from that age, it is recommended that it be consumed low in fat or skimmed , since removing the fat does not reduce the amounts of calcium.
    • Cheese : we have to bear in mind that the more cured they are, the more calcium they contribute to the body , but also more saturated fats, so you should take them in moderation. Gruyère, Emmenthal, Roquefort or ball cheese are the products with the highest amount of this mineral, followed by Manchego cheese.
    • Yogurt : it is a product that is very high on the table of measurement of foods with more calcium . It also has many and varied healthy options , such as skimmed or enriched with fiber or fruit.

Not only milk and its derivatives are carriers of calcium, fish and shellfish are also a good option to add it to our diet , since in fact there are fish that contribute even more than milk, highlighting the following.

      • Sardines : the best are canned in olive oil , since the thermal procedures to which they are subjected for canned consumption make the calcium in their bones, softer than in other fish, pass into the meat and provide more minerals .
      • Salmon : it is a soft bone fish and this favors the assimilation of this mineral . In addition, both sardines and salmon contain vitamin D and fatty acids that help the body absorb calcium .
      • Cod, sole, sea bream, sea bream or tuna are also a good option for the daily intake of this mineral . For their part, clams, mussels and cockles , in addition to calcium, are an important source of iron and iodine.

On the other hand, legumes and nuts are also a very important product to keep calcium levels in good condition, and we can highlight the following that we collect below.

      • Soy : it is one of the legumes richest in calcium . In addition, it contains isoflavones that help alleviate the decalcification of the bones , so it also helps prevent osteoporosis.
      • Chickpeas : they have a calcium level that is close to that of milk , although they contain oxalates that make their absorption difficult.
      • Almonds : it is the richest dried fruit in calcium. In addition, they are rich in magnesium , an element that also helps maintain healthy bones.
      • Dried fig : being a dehydrated fruit, its minerals are more concentrated and this is a very interesting feature for its contribution to the body . In addition to calcium, dried fruits are a rich source of fiber .

We can also find a very important source of calcium in some vegetables . Especially in those with green leaves, highlighting the following.

      • Spinach: they have an amount of calcium that can be equal to that of cow’s milk . But it must be taken into account that the oxalate content will prevent the correct absorption of calcium.
Spinach has oxalate that prevents the correct absorption of calcium
      • Watercress : they are an important source of calcium in addition to other minerals, such as iron , magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and iodine.
      • Likewise, chard, kale, broccoli, leeks, kale , etc. are interesting in the calcium contribution .

It should be noted that algae, especially the hiziki, wakame or arame varieties are very rich in this mineral. For their part, tofu, eggs and chia , sesame or flax seeds are highly recommended foods to provide calcium to our body. Finally, note that there are fruits that also provide us , such as kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, figs, plums, lemons, papaya or currants.

WHAT SUPPORTS OR DIFFICULTS THE ASSIMILATION OF CALCIUM?

It is just as important to get enough calcium in the diet, as it is to avoid those foods or factors that can hinder your body from making good use of it . To have healthy bones it is important to:

Proteins A moderate intake of protein is necessary, both for the formation of muscle and bone mass and not to lose it with age . But excessive consumption favors the elimination of calcium through the urine. Try to alternate white meat, fish, eggs and dairy . Legumes, whole grains and nuts also provide plant-based proteins.

Excess phosphorus. Excess phosphorus is associated with less calcium assimilation . Calcium and phosphorus must be in balance for the maintenance of bones. It is best not to abuse processed products or soft drinks, since phosphorus is an important component of many food additives. Also, consumption of caffeinated carbonated soft drinks and beverages has been found to help with bone decalcification.

Consuming too much fiber also makes it difficult to absorb calcium . Phytates, found in the bran of whole grains, form insoluble salts with calcium and limit its absorption . The same thing happens with the oxalates in spinach or chard.

Excess salt. The high consumption of salt, in addition to being harmful to health, increases the loss of calcium through the urine , which ends up weakening the bones. It is best to reduce the amount of salt that you usually take. In addition, it would be ideal to control the hidden salt that is in many foods, especially processed ones.

The consumption of caffeine and alcohol also inhibit the absorption of this mineral.

It is important to remember that vitamins and minerals work together to help your body. The vitamin D can help the body absorb the mineral from which we speak and is found in foods such as fish, egg yolk and milk. In addition, exposure to sunlight covers part of the vitamin D needs , which, in turn, can contribute to a better absorption of calcium in the body.

WHAT IS THE NEEDED AMOUNT OF CALCIUM DAILY?

The recommended daily amount of calcium needed differs between men and women , and it also changes at each stage of life. Babies and children have to have a greater contribution since their bones are in full development. Men age 50 and older need about 1,000 mg per day , while women in this age group need about 1,200 mg per day. It is important to note that when menopause begins, it is advisable to increase the dose to 1500 mg every day. Likewise, the daily contribution in people over 70 years of age must be higher due to their wear and tear and risk of age-related diseases .

The dried fig, being a dehydrated fruit, has the most concentrated minerals

To get an idea, a glass (220-250 ml) of milk contains approximately 300 mg of calcium , a quarter glass of whole almonds (60 ml) contains 93 mg and a cup of boiled broccoli contains approximately 66 mg. If you take dairy, it is best to choose skimmed , which provide the same amount of calcium but barely have fat.

EASILY ADD CALCIUM TO THE DIET

We have many ways of incorporating calcium into our daily diet to achieve the level necessary to be healthy and balanced. We can mix foods or add them to our stews to achieve the totality or increase the necessary contribution. For example, it is good to mix calcium-enriched yogurt or cow’s milk / soy drink with fresh fruit to make a very rich and healthy smoothie. Also, you can add legumes and green leafy vegetables to salads , have appetizers or snacks rich in calcium such as nuts or cheeses.

Milk provides calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, being ideal for bone care

The most important thing is to provide the calcium with the diet and only help us with the supplements for a medical reason if necessary and not on a whim. Dairy foods are the ones that contribute the most calcium to the body, but if we cannot consume them due to an intolerance, allergy or simply we do not like them, we have many and varied options to provide our daily diet with the necessary calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy. There is no excuse to keep our bodies fit and healthy.

Lucy Taylor
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I began to be interested in nutrition from a very young age (I am currently 25 years old), but it was not until adolescence that I knew that I would dedicate my life to this career. I am the mother of a beautiful 5-year-old girl whom I adore and plan to instill in her all the values ​​that guide us towards a healthy and balanced life. I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where I currently live, and have my own practice where, of course, I practice my profession as a nutritionist.

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