Thursday, June 22, 2023

Twenty Surprising Natural Sources of Calcium

Twenty Surprising Natural Sources of Calcium
Image Source: Google

Calcium is a crucial mineral that performs a critical function in preserving optimal bone and dental health. This substance facilitates the proper functioning of muscles, transmission of nerve impulses, and coagulation of blood. While dairy products are commonly associated with calcium, there are numerous other surprising natural sources that can help meet your calcium needs. In this article, we will explore twenty surprising natural sources of calcium and their importance in maintaining overall health and well-being.

1.      Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds
Image Source: Google

Sesame seeds are not only a flavorful addition to meals but also an excellent source of calcium. Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds provides around 88 mg of calcium. In addition to their small size, these seeds are abundant in crucial minerals such as copper, manganese, and magnesium, which play a significant role in maintaining optimal bone health. The inclusion of sesame seeds in one's dietary regimen, through their application as toppings for salads and stir-fries, or as a coating for baked goods, can serve as a convenient and palatable approach to augmenting one's calcium consumption.

2.      Chia Seeds

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain approximately 179 mg of calcium. This makes chia seeds an excellent option for those following a plant-based or dairy-free diet. Beyond calcium, chia seeds offer a range of other health benefits such as supporting digestion, promoting satiety, and providing essential nutrients. You can enjoy chia seeds by adding them to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal. You can even be using them as an egg substitute in baking recipes.

3.      Almonds

Image Source: Google

Almonds are a delicious and nutritious snack. it is also a great source of calcium. With approximately 76 mg of calcium per ounce, almonds offer a significant amount of this essential mineral. Additionally, they provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber. This makes them a satisfying and nourishing choice. Almonds also contain other beneficial nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants, which support overall well-being. Enjoy almonds as a snack, add them to salads, or use almond butter as a spread for an extra calcium boost.

4.      Kale

Kale is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable that is renowned for its health benefits. In addition to being rich in vitamins A, C, and K, kale also provides a notable amount of calcium. One cup of cooked kale contains approximately 94 mg of calcium, making it an excellent choice for calcium-conscious individuals. Furthermore, kale offers other essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, as well as dietary fiber and antioxidants. Incorporating kale into your diet by adding it to salads, stir-fries, soups, or even making kale chips for a crunchy and nutritious snack can contribute to your daily calcium intake.

5.      Broccoli

Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that not only adds color and texture to dishes but also offers surprising calcium content. One cup of cooked broccoli provides around 62 mg of calcium, making it a valuable addition to your calcium sources. This cruciferous vegetable is also high in vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Broccoli's nutritional profile supports a healthy immune system, promotes digestion, and contributes to overall well-being. Include broccoli in your meals as a side dish, incorporate it into stir-fries, or use it as a component of soups and salads to boost your calcium intake.

6.      Oranges

Oranges are well known for their high vitamin C content, but they also contain calcium, albeit in relatively smaller amounts. One medium-sized orange contains about 52 mg of calcium. While oranges may not be a primary source of calcium, they offer a host of other health benefits. Oranges are rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which support digestive health and immune function. They are also a great source of vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. While the calcium content of oranges may not be as significant as other sources, incorporating them into your diet as part of a well-rounded approach to nutrition can contribute to your overall calcium intake.

7.      Sardines

Sardines are small, oily fish that are packed with essential nutrients, including calcium. They offer approximately 350 mg of calcium per 100 grams, making them one of the richest sources of this mineral. Sardines are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and brain function. These tiny fish provide high-quality protein and are rich in vitamins D and B12, selenium, and phosphorus. Enjoy sardines as a topping for salads, on whole grain crackers, or incorporate them into pasta dishes or stews.

8.      Tofu

Tofu, made from soybeans, is a popular plant-based protein source and is surprisingly rich in calcium. Depending on the brand and type of tofu, it can provide approximately 350-700 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Tofu is also low in saturated fat and contains essential amino acids, iron, and magnesium. This versatile ingredient can be grilled, stir-fried, or used in soups and stews. It absorbs flavors well, making it an excellent addition to various recipes while boosting your calcium intake, particularly for individuals following a plant-based or vegan diet.

9.      Figs

Figs are not only a delicious and sweet fruit but also a natural source of calcium. They offer approximately 35 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Figs are also rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. They provide natural sweetness and can be enjoyed fresh or dried. Dried figs can be added to salads, oatmeal, or baked goods, while fresh figs can be eaten on their own, sliced over yogurt, or used in fruit salads.

10.  Canned Fish with Bones

Certain canned fish, such as salmon or sardines, that includes the bones can be an excellent source of calcium. These fish are often canned with their bones intact, which are soft and can be consumed. Just 100 grams of canned salmon with bones can provide around 300 mg of calcium. The bones are a rich source of this mineral and are easily mashed and incorporated into dishes. Canned fish also offers omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other essential nutrients. Look for canned fish labeled with bones and enjoy them in salads, sandwiches, or as a topping for crackers.

11.  Collard Greens

Collard greens are leafy green vegetables that offer a significant amount of calcium. One cup of cooked collard greens provides approximately 266 mg of calcium. These greens are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants. Collard greens have a slightly bitter taste and can be enjoyed sautéed, steamed, or added to soups and stews. Their calcium content makes them a valuable addition to a calcium-rich diet.

12.  Fortified Plant-Based Milk

Fortified Plant-Based Milk
Image Source: Google

Fortified plant-based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk, can be a convenient source of calcium, particularly for those who avoid dairy. Many brands fortify their plant-based milk with calcium to provide similar amounts as traditional cow's milk. Depending on the brand and variety, fortified plant-based milk can offer anywhere from 120 to 300 mg of calcium per cup. It is important to choose unsweetened varieties to avoid excessive added sugars. Fortified plant-based milk is a suitable alternative for individuals with lactose intolerance, allergies, or dietary preferences. It can be used as a substitute in recipes, poured over cereal, or enjoyed on its own.

13.  Edamame

Edamame, young soybeans, are not only a delicious and satisfying snack but also a surprising source of calcium. One cup of cooked edamame provides approximately 98 mg of calcium. In addition to calcium, edamame offers a good amount of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential amino acids. These beans are also rich in vitamins K and folate. Enjoy edamame as a snack, add them to stir-fries, and salads, or blend them into a creamy dip.

14.  Canned Pink Salmon

Canned pink salmon is an affordable and convenient way to incorporate calcium into your diet. It offers approximately 232 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Pink salmon also provides omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin D. Canned salmon can be used in various dishes such as salads, sandwiches, or patties. Be sure to choose wild-caught varieties for the best nutritional value.

15.  Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are leafy greens that are often overlooked but are rich in calcium. One cup of cooked turnip greens provides around 197 mg of calcium. These greens are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as dietary fiber and antioxidants. Turnip greens have a slightly bitter taste and can be sautéed, steamed, or added to soups and stews to boost your calcium intake.

16.  Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a thick, dark syrup that is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. It is a concentrated source of calcium, providing approximately 205 mg per tablespoon. Blackstrap molasses also offers iron, magnesium, and other essential minerals. While it is high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation, incorporating small amounts of blackstrap molasses into recipes like baked goods, marinades, or dressings can add a unique flavor and a calcium boost.

17.  Amaranth

Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that is rich in calcium and other essential nutrients. One cup of cooked amaranth contains approximately 116 mg of calcium. It is also a good source of protein, dietary fiber, iron, and magnesium. Amaranth has a slightly nutty flavor and can be used as a base for porridge, added to soups, or used as a substitute for rice or couscous.

18.  Winged Beans

Winged beans, also known as Goa beans or asparagus beans, are a lesser-known source of calcium. These unique beans offer approximately 135 mg of calcium per cup. Winged beans are also high in protein, fiber, and other essential minerals like iron, zinc, and phosphorus. They have a slightly sweet taste and can be stir-fried, added to salads, or incorporated into Asian-inspired dishes.

19.  Dried Herbs

Dried Herbs
Image Source: Google

Certain dried herbs contain surprising amounts of calcium. For example, one tablespoon of dried savory herb provides around 213 mg of calcium. Dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil can be sprinkled over dishes to add flavor and a calcium boost. While the amount of calcium consumed from dried herbs may be relatively small compared to other sources, every little bit can contribute to your overall calcium intake.

20.  Canned Anchovies

Canned anchovies, commonly used as a flavoring agent, offer a significant amount of calcium. Approximately 100 grams of canned anchovies provide around 600 mg of calcium. These small fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and essential minerals like iron and phosphorus. Incorporate canned anchovies into sauces, dressings, or pasta dishes for a burst of flavor and a calcium boost.

While dairy products are often associated with calcium, there are many surprising natural sources of this essential mineral. Incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet can help ensure you meet your daily calcium needs. From sesame seeds and chia seeds to leafy greens like kale and turnip greens, and even canned fish with bones, these sources offer a range of health benefits beyond calcium alone. Whether you follow a plant-based, dairy-free, or omnivorous diet, there are options available to suit your preferences and nutritional requirements.

Remember, maintaining adequate calcium levels is crucial for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and overall bodily functions. So, next time you're planning your meals, consider incorporating these surprising natural sources of calcium. From seeds, nuts, and leafy greens to fish, beans, and herbs, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious options to support your calcium intake and promote overall health and well-being.