Renowned functional medicine expert and bestselling author Mark Hyman, MD, shared via Instagram that many calcium-rich foods are actually dairy-free and still offer a host of other health benefits to make you feel your best. Check out her favorite calcium-rich foods, plus a few favorites from dietician Suzanne Pirkle, MA, RDN, CED-S, to make sure getting your 1,000 mg daily recommendation is easy, breezy and delicious no matter you follow suit. a plant-based diet or not.
The benefits of calcium
“Almost every cell in your body uses calcium in some way,” says registered dietitian Carissa Galloway, RDN. “Not only is it essential for building strong teeth and bones: 99 percent of the body’s calcium is in our teeth and bones, calcium is [also] used by our nervous system and regulates muscle contraction “. Calcium plays an important role in blood clotting and helps prevent and treat osteoporosis, he adds.
How Much Calcium Should You Consume?
“Just like any other nutrient, the amount of calcium you need depends on several factors, including age and gender,” says registered dietitian Jennifer Maeng, MS, RD. “That said, the recommended dietary allowance for calcium is around 1,000 mg per day for the average person. However, adolescents, postmenopausal women and adults over the age of 70 need something more ”.
To ensure that the calcium you consume is as effective as possible, Maeng says it is also important to get enough vitamin D. “Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium,” he says. “Even if you’re consuming enough calcium, a lack of vitamin D won’t allow your body to utilize the calcium and reap the health benefits.”
The best calcium rich foods for maintaining strong bones and muscles
1. Nuts and seeds
Seeds are one of the most nutritious foods out there, and they’re super high in calcium too. Pirkle particularly relies on sesame, chia, sunflower and poppy seeds to increase its consumption. “Sesame seeds alone contain a whopping 351 mg per 1/4-cup serving, which is more than a third of the daily recommendation,” he says.
While you may not be tempted to consume a quarter cup of sesame seeds at once, you can easily spread the intake throughout the day. They make an excellent salad dressing for adding an inflammatory crunch and are a great addition to a smoothie or your favorite energy snack recipe for a pre- or post-workout boost. Plus, tahini matters to your intake, so start drizzling!
As for walnuts, “Almonds are great for snacking and a good source of those poly and monounsaturated” best for you, “he says.” All nuts will provide some calcium, but almonds give you more. , with about 246 mg per cup, while also providing other minerals such as magnesium. “
2. Dark leafy greens
Many of us grew up associating spinach with strong muscle, as Popeye was known for promoting dark leafy green. While he certainly wasn’t wrong, know that others in the family are just as helpful. Take cabbage, for example. According to Dr. Hyman, kale offers a whopping 268 mg per cup, not to mention a strong dose of sleep-promoting vitamin B6 and tryptophan. Pirkle also likes kale, turnip greens and dandelion greens to get a kick-ass kick.
Try mixing your intake by rotating the type of dark green leafy vegetables you buy for salads, smoothies, and more each week to get not only an excellent source of calcium but a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Dandelion greens, for example, are great for the liver and are a good source of potassium, while turnip greens offer a double dose of bone health benefits as they pack 153% of your daily vitamin K requirement into one. only cup.
Pizza lovers, it’s your time to shine. Mozzarella in particular is a excellent source of calcium, boasting 333 mg per one-and-a-half-ounce serving, which equates to one-third of your daily requirement. In addition to making a delicious topping for Margherita pizza, mozzarella is a tasty pairing in seasonal salads with the freshest fruit, vegetables and herbs. Try garnishing your caprese salad with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or adding a packet of spinach to your favorite pasta to further boost your calcium intake. And feel free to shave some Parmesan on your salad. “One ounce of Parmesan cheese contains about 314 mg of calcium,” says Maeng.
4. Canned fish
Canned fish, especially sardines and salmon, is another favorite among registered dieters. Sardines not only boast one of the highest calcium counts per serving (351 mg per can, according to Dr. Hyman), but they are also an excellent source of phosphorus and a good source of vitamin D, both of which are also essential for building bones. muscles and teeth.
Canned salmon, on the other hand, contains a whopping 826 mg of calcium per can, which is more than 80 percent of what you need each day. Additionally, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which support heart health and increase longevity. Canned seafood is a staple in the kitchen for making an easy pantry meal in minutes, whether it’s a juicy salmon burger or a sardine noodle.
5. They are foods
We are well aware that tofu and other soy-containing foods serve as an excellent source of plant-based protein. However, the tofu also offers 61 mg of calcium per serving, and many brands are fortified with extra calcium for an even greater dose of the mineral. Tofu also contains iron and ALA omega-3s, which further support a healthy heart and help fight inflammation.
Another great thing about tofu is its versatility. Try it in a pan or turn it into a vegetable ricotta. Blend it into a smoothie or use it as a scrambled egg substitute to get a calcium boost first thing in the morning. If you’re exploring other forms of soy, Pirkle adds that edamame offers about five percent of your daily requirement while a cup of fortified soy milk offers 23 percent on average.
Do you prefer something creamy in the morning? Try adding yogurt to your morning breakfast to increase your calcium intake. This food is one of the best mineral sources out there, offering 415 mg for an eight-ounce serving of low-fat plain yogurt. Look for probiotic-rich yogurt to further improve your heart health – it will taste delicious on its own or when added to a smoothie, oatmeal recipe overnight, or paired with chopped nuts and berries for a snack before. bedtime rich in magnesium.
Perhaps the most obvious calcium-rich food, “a cup of cow’s milk contains between 300 and 325 mg of calcium depending on the percentage of milk fat, that’s about 25 percent of the daily value,” says Maeng. “Goat’s milk also contains about 330 mg or 25 percent of the daily value of calcium per cup.”
Some sources of calcium are particularly affordable. “One cup of chickpeas offers about 244 mg of calcium,” says registered dietitian Carissa Galloway, RDN.
Can you consume too much calcium?
“Hypercalcemia is a condition associated with high calcium levels,” says registered dietitian Kim Rose, RDN. Excessive calcium intake could cause excessive thirst and urination, as well as nausea, vomiting, constipation and confusion. However, it is very rare to develop this condition due to ingesting calcium-rich foods. “There is an upper limit to calcium consumption. Typically, this happens when someone gets too much calcium from supplementation, not when they consume too much calcium in their diet,” says Galloway. “Adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,000 mg of calcium per day.”