calcium

A few days ago, my friend (who is an ER doctor), asked me the following question, regarding my general diet: What do you eat for your daily calcium intake?

I don’t eat cereal (therefore no milk), I don’t eat very much cheese, and while I enjoy yogurt, I don’t usually incorporate yogurt into my daily diet. Basically, my friend said: Eat more Calcium or you will likely end up with painful Osteoporosis later in life.

I am now making it a priority to incorporate more calcium rich foods into my diet, as well as taking a daily Calcium supplement.

Side Note: Quinoa, Spinach & Avocado are both good calcium sources, so I’m off to a good start…

Sources of Calcium:

Calcium can be found in many foods, not only in dairy products.

Dairy Foods
Yogurt (1 cup) 350 mg
Milk (1 cup) 300 mg
Cheddar cheese (1 oz.) 204 mg
Ricotta cheese, part skim (1/4 cup) 169 mg
Cottage cheese (1 cup) 150 mg
Nondairy Foods
Whole Grain Total cereal (3/4 cup) 1000 mg
Pink salmon with bones, sardines (3 oz., cooked) 181 mg
Black beans (1 cup) 103 mg
Broccoli (1 cup, cooked) 150 mg
Almonds (1 tbsp.) 50 mg
Soy Products
Soy yogurt with calcium (3/4 cup) 300 mg
Soy milk enriched with calcium (1 cup) 300 mg
Tofu, firm or extra firm (1/4 cup) 250 mg
Soy nuts, roasted/salted (1/2 cup) 103 mg

 

How much calcium you need depends on your age and whether you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Group Milligrams Per Day
1 – 3 years 500 mg
4 – 8 years 800 mg
9 – 18 years 1,300 mg
19 – 50 years 1,000 mg
51+ years 1,200 mg
Pregnancy and breast feeding 1,000 – 3,000 mg

 

Charts via Brigham and Womens Hospital

Some Useful Tips:

  • Eat Yogurt

Plain, nonfat yogurt is the top source of calcium. Eight ounces provide 452 mg of calcium and 127 calories. Low-fat plain yogurt (415 mg of calcium and 143 calories) and fruit yogurt (345 mg of calcium and 232 calories) are not far behind.

  • Eat more cheese

Indulge in a little cheese knowing it provides plenty of calcium. The top source is Romano cheese with 452 mg of calcium and 165 calories per 1.5 ounces. Other top cheese are: Swiss cheese (336 mg of calcium); part-skim ricotta (335 mg per half cup); provolone (321 mg); part-skim mozzarella (311 mg); and cheddar cheese (307 mg).

  • Use milk
One cup of skim milk has 300 mg of calcium and 83 calories.  Try to use milk instead of cream in coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
 
  • Eat Salmon

Pink salmon offers 181 mg of calcium per three ounces. For the most sustainable salmon option, choose wild Alaskan salmon, which is both free of contaminants and fished sustainably, according to the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector.

  • Exercise daily

It is essential to keep your bones and body fit.

  • Drink a calcium-rich tea

Gather red clover blossoms, raspberry, dandelion and comfrey leaves and put them in a jar and add apple cider vinegar. Close the jar. Let it stay for 1½ month. Pour a tablespoon of the mixture in a mug of hot water. This can also be taken in as salad or vegetables.

  • Don’t forget to have enough vitamin D

It is essential for calcium absorption. You have the option to use supplements or bask under the morning sun for about 15 minutes daily.

  • Lessen your caffeine, alcohol and sodium intake

An excess of these items boost the rate of loss of calcium and decreases the strength of your bones.

  • Lower protein in your diet

The byproducts of protein are acidic. The concentration of protein is inversely proportional to that of calcium.

  • Eat more Leafy Greens

Good sources of calcium include romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, sesame seeds, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, garlic, Brussel sprouts, oranges, asparagus, leeks and crimini mushrooms. Rosemary, cumin seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, scallops, and kelp are also good sources of calcium.

  • Calcium supplements

If you believe that you’re not getting required quantity of calcium from the diet, try supplements. Ideal if you take little doses during day, one in the morning and another in the evening. Your body can only absorb some 500 mg at a time. Don’t let those supplements go wasted.

Sources: Brigham and Women’s Hospital a Teaching Affiliate of Harvard Medical School; VIPHealth.org; The Daily Green

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