Did you know you have more calcium in your body than any other mineral?
It plays a big role in bone, heart and teeth health as well as muscle and nerve function – so meeting your daily calcium needs should be a top priority.
However, most people do not meet their required calcium intake which ranges from around 1000mg to 1300mg a day. You probably already know that dairy is the best source of calcium with the highest bioavailability, but there are still plenty of alternatives that can help increase your calcium intake – even for those following a vegan, vegetarian or lactose free diet.
The bioavailability differs depending on the source but to help increase absorption, be sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D each day also, because the two work together for absorption and utilisation the body.
Here’s just a few of our top food sources for calcium:
The obvious choice! Calcium is best absorbed from dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yoghurt. If you’re dairy free, opt for calcium fortified alternatives which include Soy, Almond, Oat or Rice milk. How to be sure your preferred brand meets the minimum amount of calcium to be considered a ‘serve?’ Check the food label for calcium as being a minimum of 100mg/100mL.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are a great source of calcium. Of all nuts, almonds are among the highest in calcium — one ounce of almonds, or about 22 nuts, delivers 8% of the RDI. Brazil nuts, chia, poppy and sesame seeds are also excellent sources of calcium.
Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with calcium, thanks to their edible bones. A 3.75-ounce (92-gram) can of sardines packs 35% of the RDI, and 3 ounces (85 grams) of canned salmon with bones have 21%. These oily fish also provide high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart, brain and skin.
While seafood can contain mercury, smaller fish such as sardines have low levels. In addition, both sardines and salmon have high levels of selenium a mineral that can prevent and reverse mercury toxicity.
BEANS & EDAMAME
White and winged beans are the best of the bean family for calcium, edamame is also another great plant based source. Edamame are young soybeans, often sold while still encased in the pod. One cup (155 grams) of edamame packs 10% of the RDI for calcium. It’s also a good source of protein and delivers all your daily folate in a single serving.
Whey Protein is found in milk and has been extensively studied for its health benefits. It’s an excellent protein source and full of quickly digested amino acids. Several studies have linked whey-rich diets to weight loss and improved blood sugar control. Whey is also exceptionally rich in calcium — a 1-ounce (28-gram) scoop of whey protein powder isolate contains 200 mg, or 20% of the RDI.