What are some of the Best Natural Sources of Calcium- Palak Notes
Most of us have always heard that we need to get enough calcium. Maybe you have been wondering about what you should be doing to get in enough calcium especially if you have dietary restrictions and why we need calcium. Calcium does a lot of amazing things in our body. One of the better-known things that it does is to strengthen our teeth and bones.
But did you know that calcium also helps to regulate your heartbeat, helps your muscles to function properly and to neutralize excess acidity in your body? This is why it's important to make sure that you take in enough calcium. You need 1000 mg to 1200 mg of calcium per day. You can get this through supplements and diet.
Best Natural Sources Of Calcium
Calcium is one of the easiest nutrients to get from food alone. Dairy and fish are some of the best sources of calcium. When choosing your dairy, raw is better because it has more calcium and is better absorbed by the body and it causes less acidity. Excess acidity causes your stored up calcium to be released from your bones. Eat the following:
- 2-3 Servings Of Dairy Per Day
- 1 cup of milk or yoghurt is 1 serving. A matchbox size piece of hard cheese or 1/2 cup of soft cheese like ricotta or cottage cheese is a serving. 1 cup of raw milk contains 300 mg of calcium.
Sardines And Salmon -These fish eaten with the bones are a great source of calcium. A can of sardines contains 351 mg of calcium.
Whey Protein -Whey is another good source of calcium with 100 g providing 600 mg.
Sources Of Calcium For Vegans
With the number of people who are on a vegan diet or considering becoming vegan increasing, there are concerns about calcium intake. There are plant sources of calcium that you can eat if you aren't able to consume any of the foods listed above.
Plant-Based Sources Of Calcium:
Leafy Green Vegetables-When cooked, 1 cup of collard greens has anything from 266 to 357 mg of calcium. Cooked kale has around 150-177 mg per cup. Spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, turnip greens and broccoli also contain calcium.
Fortified Plant Milk-Many brands of plant milk are fortified with calcium. One 250 ml cup of Almond Breeze contains 325 mg. Other sources such as hemp, rice, and soy milk are also often fortified. Check the labels to see the calcium content and choose the unsweetened varieties.
- Chia Seeds
Beans -Beans, which are a nice addition to many meals and an important source of protein for vegans also contain calcium. White beans contain 191 mg per cup and other beans like navy beans and soybeans are excellent sources of calcium too.
Quinoa And Amaranth -Per cooked cup, quinoa contains up to 100 mg of calcium and amaranth 116 mg.
All beans, nuts, and seeds, as well as quinoa and amaranth, need to be soaked for 8-24 hours to make sure the anti-nutrients that can prevent absorption of calcium are removed. Leafy greens should also always be cooked for the same reason, either quickly boiled or steamed, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale in particular. Use the other greens more than these three because of this as well.
Best Calcium Supplement
If we can get calcium from food, why do we need to use a supplement? Certain conditions result in a higher demand of calcium and if you are on a plant-based diet, the anti-nutrients can cause poor absorption or if you are not able to consume many of the good sources of calcium, then you may need to supplement. The best calcium supplements are made from either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate and have the supporting vitamins D3 and K as well as the mineral magnesium.
Supplementation May Be Necessary If:
- You are pregnant
- You are breastfeeding
- Are on a vegan diet
- Are postmenopausal
- For your growing children
Are Calcium Supplements Safe?
Calcium supplements are safe when not taken in excess. You should only take 400 mg at a time otherwise your body will struggle to absorb it. Getting a supplement with calcium supporting nutrients enhances absorption and makes sure the calcium is absorbed where it should be, the bones and teeth and not soft tissues. Always speak to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking new supplements to make sure that it won't affect any other medications that you may be on or if you have never taken a supplement before. But what if you are calcium deficient?
Early Signs Of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is one of the biggest side effects of calcium deficiency. Yes, the body needs calcium for other purposes too, but the body will usually first use the calcium it has stored up for the important functions like making sure that your heart works correctly. It uses the calcium stored in your bones for this. This is why we need to consume enough calcium. Eat a healthy diet that limits or excludes alcohol (alcohol hampers absorption of calcium) and soft drinks, and excludes cigarettes. Too much of these drinks can make your body excessively acidic.
Doing weight-bearing exercise such as lifting weights or bodyweight exercises as well as those activities that result in some impact on your bones such as walking, running, and climbing stairs. Getting treatment and making sure that you take in enough calcium and exercise as directed by your doctor should you have developed osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, can help slow its progression greatly. You can also do the same for osteoporosis. The early symptoms of weakening bones include:
- Bone pain
- Dental problems like receding gums
- Weakening grip
- Muscle aches
- Brittle nails
- You need 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day
- Raw dairy, whey, and fish with edible bones like salmon and sardines are great sources
- Plant-based sources include leafy green vegetables, beans, and fortified plant milk
- Take a calcium supplement that contains magnesium and vitamins D3 and K
- Don't take more than 400 mg at a time as it won't be absorbed correctly
- Osteoporosis can be prevented by a healthy diet, consuming enough calcium and doing weight-bearing exercises
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