Our human body requires various vitamins and minerals. Among them, calcium is one of the important ones. Humans need enough calcium for strong bones and teeth. A calcium deficiency in your body may lead to various conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets, and there is also a high risk of breaking a bone. Similarly, Vitamin D is equally important because it helps the body to absorb calcium. To keep your bones healthy, you should ensure that you get the necessary vitamins and minerals required for it. Calcium can be received from many foods. Apart from this, calcium supplements are now available in plenty.
This article explains to you the importance of calcium and the foods that are rich in calcium.
Table of Contents
Best Calcium Foods for Bones
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that is very much essential for our body. This mineral is easily found in many foods. Calcium is very much necessary for strong bones and also for the smooth functioning of the body.
Calcium is much needed for muscles for its movements and nerves to transmit messages between the brain and other parts of the body. In addition, calcium aids the blood vessels to transfer blood throughout the body. It also helps release hormones and enzymes, which are essential for the smooth functioning of the body.
Importance of Calcium
For Healthy Bones: A discussed earlier, this mineral is essential for bone health. In the human body, around 99% of the calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. In all stages, a human requires calcium; for children, it is vital for bone development. For adults, calcium is needed to maintain bone health.
Cardio Vascular System: Calcium is essential in blood clotting. It plays a vital role in muscle functioning, which is necessary for maintaining heart muscle functions. Calcium also helps in relaxing the muscles around the blood vessels. Some studies have proved that consuming a high amount of calcium seems to reduce blood pressure.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer: Some studies state that consuming a high calcium diet or taking supplements may lower the risks of developing prostate cancer or cancer of the colon.
Facts to Know About Calcium:
Calcium is not produced in the Body: Our body does not produce calcium, so we have to depend on a diet or other supplements to receive an adequate amount of calcium.
Let’s see some of the best foods for calcium;
- Dairy products- cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Fatty fish- Sardines, tuna, etc.
- Dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, etc.
Vitamin D is essential for absorbing Calcium: Our body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. And so, you have to keep track of the vitamin D. Vitamin D can be received from foods like salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolks. Similarly, sunshine is another great source of vitamin D. In addition, now you get various vitamin D supplements as well.
Calcium is Much Essential for Women: Various studies prove that calcium helps ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
You may depend on Calcium Supplements: Calcium supplements are available in plenty now. So you may consume the supplements after consulting with a physician. As too much calcium can cause some health issues.
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
This depends on your age and gender. But make sure that you get the required amount of calcium from the daily diet.
- The men aged 10- 70 require an average of 1000 mg per day. Whereas, after 71 years or older, you may have to increase it to 1200 mg.
- In the case of women, 19-50 years require an average of 1000mg per day. After 51 years, you have to ensure that you are receiving 1200mg from your daily diet.
What happens if you don’t get enough calcium?
If your body is not getting the right amount of calcium from the diet, the bones will release calcium into the blood. You can’t find any symptoms in the early stages, as they hardly show symptoms. But over time, the deficiency of calcium may lead to osteoporosis and breakage of bones. Some of the other symptoms caused by a calcium deficiency are convulsions, numbness, tingling in the fingers.
- One of the severe deficiencies related to calcium is hypocalcemia: Some of the symptoms of hypocalcemia are Weakness and muscle cramps, numbness in the fingers, Variation in heart rate, and Poor appetite.
- Menopause: Menopause in women can lower the amount of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a hormone that is required to help calcium absorption in the body. In this case, there is a chance for calcium deficiency. And so, by consulting a physician, you can take supplements or treatments to prevent osteoporosis.
- You may also suffer from high blood pressure: Calcium is essential to tighten and relax the blood vessels.
- You may experience itchy skin and delicate nails: Our skin and nails are perfect indicators that show whether we are suffering from any health issues. Dry, delicate, and broken nails indicate low calcium levels in the body. Some the skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema are also linked to calcium deficiency.
- Increased teeth issues: Increased tooth decay indicates a deficiency of calcium.
Too Much Calcium
Getting too much calcium than the required amount can also cause some health issues. Let’s dive into some of the health issues caused by high calcium intake;
- It can increase the risk of kidney stones.
- May increases chances of prostate cancer
- Too much calcium intake can cause constipation
- Affect the body’s ability in absorbing various other minerals like iron and zinc
What is the best source of calcium for Bones?
You may get a good amount of calcium by following a good diet, including rich calcium foods. Similarly, you may even choose calcium supplements to ensure that your body receives the proper amount of calcium essential for the body.
Which Food Is Best For Calcium?
Some of the common foods that are rich in calcium are dairy products, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, leafy greens, etc. Have a look at the list of calcium-rich food listed below:
Milk is found to be the cheapest yet highest source of calcium and the best calcium food for bones. One cup of cow’s milk contains 276-352mg calcium content based on its type- whole milk or low-fat milk. In addition, milk also contains necessary vitamins like A and D.
Among the various types of milk, Goat milk contains the highest calcium content providing 327mg per cup.
We all know the health benefits of leafy vegetables. Some leafy greens like kale, watercress, collard greens, and arugula are rich sources of calcium. These foods are also rich in magnesium and vitamin K, which are essential for bone metabolism.
Adding fortified cereals to your diet is an excellent natural calcium supplement. The fortified cereals are one of the common breakfast options. For those who love cereals, this is good news. The fortified cereals like corn flakes, raisin bran, etc. can deliver a good amount of calcium from one serving.
Tuna is rich in vitamin D and contains potassium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids; as they are readily available, it’s much easier to include in the diet.
Cheese is made out of milk. Therefore, milk is the richest source of calcium. Among the various types of cheese, ergo cheese and mozzarella cheese are high in calcium. Most people love to have cheese and so adding this to the diet is pretty easy and ensures you receive the daily amount of calcium needed for your body.
To be precise, parmesan cheese contains the highest amount of calcium, with 331mg per ounce. Similarly, some like cottage cheese is also power-packed with proteins.
Many studies have come up saying that taking cheese lowers the risk of heart diseases. In addition, consuming cheese daily can help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, as it can increase the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. However, the advantages and nutritional benefits are high; consuming more full-fat cheese is much higher in fat and calories.
An egg is an excellent source of Vitamin D. By including eggs in your daily diets helps improve your bone health. By adding eggs to the diet, especially egg yolk can stimulate the body to absorb calcium.
It is another food best for calcium as it’s made from milk. Many types of yogurts are available in the market, and most are rich in probiotic bacteria, which can contribute various health benefits.
One cup of yogurt contains 30% of calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B2, B12, and potassium. The best part is that low-fat yogurts contain a greater amount of calcium, 45% RDI per cup.
Similarly, Greek yogurts have a good amount of calcium and proteins as well. Studies have proved that including yogurt in the daily diet can help boost metabolic health, reducing heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Among the various non-dairy sources of calcium, broccoli is not only good for bone health-it also rich in vitamin C, fiber, and other essential nutrients essential for the body. One cup of broccoli contains approximately 887ms of calcium.
According to the National Cancer Institute in the U.S, including broccoli in the daily diet can also reduce the risk of cancer.
Sardines and Salmon:
Including fatty fish in your diet is a great way to get Vitamin D. Salmon contains a good amount of vitamin D.
Sardines and Salmons, especially canned ones, are loaded with calcium and are the best foods for calcium as they have edible bones. They are also high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, so they are suitable for the heart, skin, and brain. Sardines and salmons also contain a good level of selenium.
Adding a cup of almonds to your diet provides you with 385mg of calcium. If you don’t prefer taking almonds as such, you may consider almond butter. Almond butter is high in protein and has no cholesterol.
Chia seeds contain a good amount of calcium. For example, a person consuming two tablespoons of chia receives 179m of calcium. Chia seeds are also good to keep your bones and muscles healthy. Adding chia to your diet is pretty easy. You may add it to a breakfast smoothie or add to your oatmeal.
The benefits of sweet potatoes are innumerable. They are high in calcium, potassium, and also vitamins A and C. A big sweet potato can provide you 68 mg of calcium to your body. In addition, sweet potatoes are low in fat and calories. As it tastes delicious, it’s much easy to include in the diet. You may find various recipes with sweet potatoes ranging from snacks, side dishes, and fries.
Sunflower seeds are known to be a great source of calcium. A cup of sunflower seed can deliver 109mg of calcium to your body. In addition, sunflower seeds are also rich in magnesium which is essential to balance the effects of calcium in our body. These seeds also contain a good amount of vitamin E and copper.
While choosing Sunflower seeds for your daily diet, try to look for raw unsalted seeds for maximum health benefits. Anything too much isn’t suitable for your body and so considers taking only a single serving. This will help in avoiding excessive calorie intake.
Following seeds in the list are Sesame seeds. Including one tablespoon of sesame seeds will provide you with 88 mg of calcium. You can try various techniques like adding them to your salads or other dishes for a crunch.
These seeds are also a rich source of zinc and copper essential to keep the bones healthy. In addition, some studies also claim that consuming supplements with sesame seeds can help relieve the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
Tofu is an excellent source of calcium. By consuming a cup of tofu, you receive approximately 300-800mg of calcium (this depends on the brand and quality). To assure the quality of tofu, it’s wise to ensure that the tofu contains calcium salt.
Adding a cup of soymilk will provide you with an equal amount of calcium that you receive from cow’s milk. It also contains a rich source of vitamin D. It contains less saturated fat when compared with whole milk. While choosing soy milk, ensure the product is fortified with calcium carbonate.
Kale is from the cruciferous family. They are loaded with calcium and antioxidants. Kale is also low in calories, and so you can add them to your diet food as well. You can add this into your diet as a salad or along with some steamed vegetables.
We are all aware of the benefits of orange when it comes to boosting immunity. But, this fruit is also rich in calcium, and vitamin D. One medium-sized orange can deliver around 60mg of calcium. And so it’s a great idea to add this fruit to your daily diet, or you may even consume fortified orange drinks. Try including oranges or oranges in your diet.
Amazingly, figs are another rich source of calcium, and so it is considered one of the best calcium foods for bones. It can provide 241 mg of calcium if you consume 1 cup of dry figs. Figs are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants. So it’s much easy to consume as a snack.
They are available as fresh, shelled, or even in frozen forms. They are rich in calcium, proteins, and amino acids. By adding a cup of edamame into your diet, you will receive approximately 98mg of calcium.
White beans are other calcium-rich foods. They are low-fat and are also rich in iron content. They can be consumed in the form of a salad, soup or you may even have it as a side dish along with your meals.
Calcium Supplements: Who Should Take It?
As discussed before, when calcium is insufficient, your body takes it from your bones. This will make the bones weak and brittle, resulting in osteoporosis.
When compared to men, women are found at a higher risk of osteoporosis. And so many doctors advise women to include calcium supplements when they reach menopause.
Similarly, if you are not receiving the required amount of calcium through the diet, you may consider taking calcium supplements only after consulting your doctor.
Benefits of Calcium Supplements
Helps in fat loss: Studies have proved that people who have taken calcium supplements and vitamin D supplements have reduced body fat.
Consuming an apt amount of calcium reduces the risk of colon cancer: It’s found that taking the required amount of calcium supplement has reduced the level of colon cancer.
Improves the metabolic markers: Studies show that, calcium supplements when consumed with vitamin D, have improved metabolic markers, including inflammation, insulin, and blood pressure.
Possible Drawbacks of Calcium Supplements
Some studies suggest that supplements may cause some health issues. Let’s have a look at the possible dangers that are caused by calcium supplements.
Can increase the risk of kidney stones:
Some studies suggest that by taking calcium supplements, there is a higher risk of kidney stones; similarly, as per studies, more than 36000 women are consuming calcium supplements daily. And the majority of them who take supplements suffered from kidney stones.
Various studies and researches are conducted based on this topic.
Researches state that people who consume more than 2000 mg per day are linked to a higher risk of kidney stones. But few others state that there is a high risk of kidney stones when the intake of supplements is more than 1500mg a day.
Chances of Hypercalcemia:
Hypercalcemia is a condition where the calcium levels are above the normal level in your blood. Some of the symptoms of hypercalcemia are nausea, irritability, stomach pain, and depression. They can even be caused by several other conditions like dehydration and thyroid. Similarly, excessive intake of Vitamin D supplements can also cause hypercalcemia.
Increase the risk of heart diseases:
Though this is not proven and is a controversial suggestion, it is said that calcium supplement increases heart diseases like stroke and heart attack.
Increased risk of prostate Cancer:
Several studies suggested that a high intake of calcium can increase the chances of prostate cancer.
Things to Consider While Taking Calcium Supplements
Before adding any vitamin or minerals supplement, it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor. In addition, you need to ensure some factors like;
Take only the right amount required: You need to ensure the dosage before taking the supplements. Check the required dose and the amount that you may receive from your daily diet. By considering this, you can decide the dosage. If you aren’t sure about the dosage, consult a health practitioner as taking more than the required amount can lead to various other health problems.
It’s wise to split the doses: To ensure maximum absorption of calcium. For example, you may take 500mg supplements in the morning and the second dose at night. Similarly, taking supplements with vitamin D will help the body to absorb calcium quickly.
What is the best Calcium for Bones?
This is a common query that, what is the best calcium for bones? The answer is Calcium carbonate and Calcium citrate. While consuming, the former dissolves well in an acid environment, and so it is recommended to take along with the meal, whereas the latter can be taken at any time of the day.
Though the availability of calcium supplements is more, it is best to consider natural sources and foods best for calcium to provide an adequate amount of calcium to your body. You may include two to three daily servings of plant-based or natural foods that are rich in calcium.