Dietary Sources of Calcium: Non-Dairy Foods
Do you know what is the element that contributes greatly to bone and teeth formation, supports muscle contraction, heart functions, blood clotting, and nerve transmission? You guessed it right it’s CALCIUM!
Most people when hearing the word calcium, they link it immediately to dairy sources (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese) what we are about to discover is that there are numerous alternative sources of non-dairy options that are rich in Calcium.
Dietary Sources of Calcium – Vegetables and Fruit Juices
Adequate calcium intake can be achieved by consuming a well-balanced diet. calcium-rich vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens, and spinach are very important for people who seek non-dairy options. Broccoli is rich in calcium and Vitamin C. Collard greens contain a significant amount of calcium and are loaded with vitamins A & K.
Spinach is rich in calcium, however, it contains oxalates, which can restrict calcium absorption. Foods fortified with calcium like fruit juices, cereals, and some grains can also act as an excellent alternative source of calcium.
Dietary Sources of Calcium – Protein-Rich Foods
Certain proteins like tofu and canned fish are excellent sources of calcium. One cup of firm tofu made of coagulated soy milk contains approximately 350-400 mg of calcium, while a 3-ounce portion of canned salmon with bones contains about 180-210 mg of calcium.
Dietary Sources of Calcium – Grains, Nuts, and Seeds
Some grains, nuts, and seeds are rich in calcium, they offer a plant-based alternative with additional nutritional benefits.
There are Different brands of almond milk fortified with calcium, the concentration of calcium ranges from 120 to 450 mg per cup. While Chia Seeds offer fibers, omega-3 fatty acids along with Calcium, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain about 180 mg of calcium.
Also, taking 1 tablespoon of Sesame seeds provides your body with 7% of your daily value of calcium with other minerals like copper, iron, and manganese. Incorporating different grains, nuts, and seeds into your daily diet will have a role in protecting you from osteoporosis and Calcium deficiency.
Dietary Sources of Calcium – Understanding Bioavailability
The Concentration of Calcium that reaches the blood after eating a calcium-rich meal or taking a calcium supplement is known by the term bioavailability. Several factors affect calcium bioavailability like Vitamin D (acquired from sunlight exposure or vitamin D supplements).
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption. Also, Oxalates and Phytates present in spinach and some nuts can reduce calcium absorption. Cooking or soaking them may solve this problem. In some cases, Higher fiber intake may also reduce calcium absorption.
Dietary Sources of Calcium – For people with Lactose Intolerance
People with lactose intolerance can achieve their daily requirement of calcium by incorporating other plant-based sources. Also, lactose-free dairy products and calcium-fortified alternatives are suitable solutions that will meet their needs.
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In the end, dairy products are very important for your health, however, it isn’t the sole source of Calcium. It is important to variate your calcium sources. A varied diet is essential to meet your calcium needs without relying solely on dairy products.
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- Calcium – statpearls
- Dietary Calcium – Statpearls
- Top 15 Calcium-Rich Foods (Many Are Nondairy) – healthline