If dairy isn’t your thing, but you are worried about calcium, here are five foods you need to know that are rich in this bone-building mineral...
Calcium is a very necessary mineral, but when most of us hear calcium we automatically think milk and dairy foods – well, think again because there are a plethora of calcium rich foods that are actually dairy free! Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body; it helps to maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth, supports our blood vessels, muscle function, nerve conduction and more. The recommended daily intake of calcium for an adult (age 19 - 50) is 1,000 mg per day; this number varies for children and teens, pregnant women, and older people.
So where can you find calcium if milk, cheese and other dairy products aren’t your thing? Leafy greens, seafood, legumes and fruit also contain calcium, and many foods and drinks are fortified with calcium. Just remember to try and pair non-dairy sources of calcium with vitamin D, as the body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium.
Here are five surprising sources of natural calcium:
Tinned Salmon: 232 milligrams (mg), 23 percent of the daily value (DV) in half a can with bones. Yup, the bones – it’s the bones in canned salmon that hold all the calcium, so they need to be mashed up right along with the salmon meat for all the benefits! The canning process softens the bones so they are unnoticeable when mixed in with the rest of the can's contents. Sardines are also a great source, at 321 mg in about 7 fillets.
Dried Figs: 107 mg or 10 percent of the DV in 8 whole dried figs.
For a sweet treat, figs are also full of antioxidants, fiber and of course calcium. Eat them as a midday snack.
Bok Choy: 74 mg, or 7 percent of the DV in 1 cup.
This versatile Chinese cabbage provides a superb amount of vitamins A and C, along with calcium and fiber.
Oranges: 65 mg or 6 percent of the DV in 1 medium fruit. Full of vitamin C and calcium, oranges are great any time, you can even use its juice as a salad dressing with a little olive oil.
Sesame Seeds: 88 mg or 9 percent of the DV in 1 tablespoon.
These unassuming seeds are more than just a garnish. Sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and may even fight against certain cancers. And they are packed with calcium!