Calcium is a vital mineral that you need for bone health - this is a fact that’s conveyed to everybody from childhood. But it’s not just for healthy bones and teeth that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium is set at 1,000 mg per day for women between 18-50 years and men between 18-70 years.
A 2019 study in Nutrients mentions that this recommended calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risks of low blood pressure (hypotension), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy like preeclampsia and eclampsia, blood clotting disorders, colorectal adenomas, high cholesterol levels, muscle dysfunction, nerve disorders and osteoporosis.
Calcium thus has a huge role to play in your health, and you need to increase your intake to match the RDA levels of this vital nutrient. Milk, yoghurt and other dairy products are some of the most popular calcium-rich foods, but these aren’t the only foods which are packed with this mineral. In fact, if you want to increase your calcium intake then instead of relying on just milk and dairy, you should be including the following calcium-rich foods in your daily diet.
1. Green veggies
Some dark leafy green vegetables are exceptionally rich in calcium and you should be eating enough of them. These include collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, okra, bok choy, etc as they have very high amounts of calcium and other minerals.
2. Nuts and seeds
These small foods pack a very large punch of calcium as well as other minerals and antioxidants. Poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds have high calcium content and so do all nuts, especially almonds.
3. Legumes and lentils
Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, black-eyed beans and legumes (dal) of all types are rich in calcium. These foods are also rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and other minerals, so include each of these in your diet.
4. Soy foods
Soy beans, edamame, tofu and all other types of soy products are packed with calcium and other minerals. These are also plant-based sources of nutrition and so they’re perfect for vegans as well as lactose intolerant people.
All types of fish which can be eaten with their bones, like sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc have a very high calcium content. The US National Osteoporosis Foundation also recommends shellfish like shrimp or prawns as seafood with high calcium content.
Also known as rajgira in some parts of India, amaranth is a pseudocereal rich in calcium, manganese and other minerals. Since it’s easily available in the country, it should be a part of your regular diet.
7. Dried figs
Dried figs (anjeer) are also very popular and easily available in India. It has the highest calcium content among all dried foods, and also has high potassium and vitamin K content.
For more information, read our article on Calcium.
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