Calcium is the most prolific nutrient in your body. That is because it is the major component (99%) of your bones and teeth. And your bones and teeth can’t do without it. Read on to know the link between calcium and bone health and why you should include calcium rich foods in your diet.
How does calcium make bones strong?
Bones keep developing till the age of 25. If during this developmental stage, children and young adults do not get enough calcium, their bones will not be as strong as they should be and their bone mass would be insufficient. Down the line, this could lead to many complications related to bone health.
Moreover, not consuming calcium rich foods could also lead to a disease called rickets, which can stunt growth, and weaken muscles. Children in particular if deficient in calcium, tumble and fall a lot. Growing children also hurt themselves in different activities. Calcium ensures that if their bones are injured, they heal fast. Without it, they become susceptible to fractures.
Around the age of 25, bone density reaches its peak and after that, it slowly starts to decline. That is why it is vital to take in as much calcium as possible between 0-25 years of age to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis kicks in when your body realizes that there isn’t enough calcium to go around. And it starts extracting the calcium from the bones, which are after all made of calcium. Even after the age of 25, people should go on consuming the optimal amount of calcium because it can help slow down the loss of bone density.
If there is a deficit, the body starts extracting calcium from the teeth and this could lead to decay and brittleness of teeth. If people aren’t taking in enough calcium through their diet, they can opt for calcium supplements.
Why do you need Calcium-rich foods?
Your body is not capable of manufacturing calcium. It relies on foods for its supply of this extremely important nutrient. You are supposed to consume 1000 mg of calcium if you are an adult. Women who are over 50 years of age should amp up their intake to 1300 mg because post menopause, they become vulnerable to bone diseases such as arthritis.
A lot of people, even if they are eating healthy, do not get the right dose of calcium because of dietary oversight. This is why it is very important to include these particular foods in your daily diet.
A few fail-proof calcium-rich foods
Usually, when you think of calcium, milk and dairy products come to your mind. While they are indeed some of the best sources of calcium, there are others as well. That is why our list comprises of milk products as well as non-dairy products, which people who are lactose intolerant can safely consume.
1. Soy foods
No list of calcium-rich foods is complete without including Soy. Soy derivatives should be a mandatory part of your diet if you do not consume milk products. They are enriched with calcium. Just 175 grams of soybeans will give you 18% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of calcium.
2. Lentils and beans
Lentils and beans are not just full of fibres, proteins, and minerals but they are also a decent source of calcium. For example, if you consume 172 grams of boiled white beans, you will meet 13 % of your daily requirement. Opt for the winged beans because they contain more calcium than the other variants. 175 grams of lentils with contribute to about 4 % of your calcium RDI. So try to include both beans and lentils in your everyday diet because they also have tonnes of other benefits as well.
Every nut contains calcium but some more than others do. 35 grams of almonds will provide you with 10% of your calcium RDI. Brazil nuts finish a close second in the list of best nutty sources of calcium. You can also opt for walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts.
There is no nutritional benefit that seeds won’t provide. Seeds that are packed with calcium are poppy, celery, sesame, and chia seeds. A mere 9 grams of poppy seeds can pack a staggering 13% of your daily requirement.
5. Cheese and yoghurt
The reason why milk products are some of the most favored sources of calcium is that your body can absorb the calcium that comes from them more easily than from plant sources.
Cheese, especially parmesan is a calcium-rich food. Only 28 grams of it will deliver 33% of the RDI. The softer cheeses and paneer contain plenty of calcium as well. Yoghurt too is a delicious and trustable calcium source. 1 cup of yoghurt is equivalent to 30% of your RDI. Opt for the ones with low fat, for a stronger dose of calcium.
6. Sea weed
Seaweed is slowly making its way into the Indian diet now that people understand that this is not just an eccentric dietary choice but also actually a food that is packed with goodness. Seaweeds can provide between 12-14% of the RDI. But don’t go overboard with it because it contains heavy metals and too much of it can harm you.
We can’t complete our list without some fruity goodness. There are some calcium-rich fruits that you should consume as regularly as possible. A raw fig will give you 2% of the RDI. An orange 5-7% and 110 grams of berries guarantee 7% of the RDI, respectively.
Calcium is that nutrient you just can’t do without. And that is why you need to look to these sources to replenish your reserves of it.