Calcium is an essential mineral which is linked to numerous health benefits and plays a key role in several body functions that include maintenance of the skeleton, muscle contraction, mammalian oocyte maturation and transmission of nerve signals. A diet deficient in calcium has been linked with a higher prevalence of osteoarthritis, cataracts and brittle bones.
You can prevent calcium deficiency by including calcium-rich foods in your diet. These include dairy products, like milk, cheese and yogurt, fatty fishes, whole grains, dark leafy greens, seeds and whey protein.
Since calcium is used by every cell in your body as a signaling molecule, it is important to get sufficient amounts of this mineral. This is particularly important as you get old because it helps maintain bone mineral density (1).
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000mg, 1200mg and 1300mg for adults, individuals over 50 and children aged 4-18, respectively. However, most Americans fail to consume adequate amounts of calcium.
Here are 10 calcium-rich foods for stronger bones.
- Parmesan Cheese
In general, dairy products are renowned for their high calcium content, but parmesan cheese stands out with 10 times more calcium than milk. One cup (100 grams) of parmesan cheese has 431 calories and contains 38 grams of protein and 110% of the recommended DV for calcium. This Italian aged cheese has a unique flavor, easy to digest and plays a key role in bone formation and the strengthening of teeth enamel.
Seed plants, such as sesame, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and poppy, are packed with calcium. They may be tiny but their nutrient profile is huge. For instance, a 100-gram serving of sesame seeds is high in calories with 573 Kcal and contains 12 grams of dietary fiber and almost 97% of the recommended DV for calcium. Seeds also deliver a good amount of several nutrients, most notably potassium and protein.
- Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is a prebiotic food that provides a number of health benefits, including weight loss promotion, inflammation reduction and ulcers prevention. This dairy product delivers sufficient amounts of calcium to maintain strong bones. In fact, one cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt made from skim milk has 137 calories and contains 29.4 mcg of folate and 488 mg of calcium which is almost 44% of the recommended DV for this vital mineral.
Sardines are a reliable source of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, most notably calcium and phosphorus. A 3.75-ounce can (92 grams) of sardines has 191 calories and contains 365.2 mg of potassium and 35% and 136% of the recommended DV for cobalamin and calcium, respectively. Moderate consumption of this fatty fish is heart-healthy and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Another rich source of calcium is almonds. One cup (92 grams) of sliced almonds contains 12 grams of dietary fiber and almost 25% of the recommended DV for calcium, as well as 19 grams of protein. They also deliver several powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals. Eating nuts has been shown to boost brain health, reduce inflammation and the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
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