Thursday, September 5, 2013

Calcium rich foods with better absorption

Calcium is an essential mineral nutrient that strengthens bones and teeth of body. It also helps to regulate muscle and nerve function, blood clotting, enzyme function and heart functioning. The higher the calcium intake at childhood and youth, the better is the chance of disease free bones in old age. The deficiency of calcium can lead to weak bones, muscle cramps, numbness in limbs, loss of appetite and lack of energy. Hence, it is necessary to consume calcium in right quantity in order to lead a healthy life.
Generally, dairy products are considered enough sources of calcium. Intake of milk, yogurt, buttermilk and cheese definitely provide calcium but does not guarantee its absorption in the body. That does not mean dairy products should be ignored. But, there are certain foods that are good sources of calcium and their intake also results in better absorption of calcium in body.

Certain nutrients like Vitamin D, Vitamin K and magnesium facilitate better calcium absorption in body. Therefore, besides adding dairy products to the daily diet, it would be prudent to consider the following foods that are good sources of calcium and result in better absorption of calcium:

  • Almonds: Enriched with different essential nutrients, almonds contain calcium in good quantity. One serving of almonds contains 750 milligrams of calcium. Therefore, consume some almonds as snacks or include them in recipes and salads for extra nutritional value as well as taste.
  • Tofu and soy:  
      Tofu is one of the popular soy products that offer great nutritional value in low calories. One ounce of tofu contains 105 mg of calcium. Similarly other soy products like soy milk are good source of calcium that can help to fulfill the daily calcium requirements of a person. However, the calcium content may vary in different brands. Therefore, read the labels before purchase.
  • Leafy green vegetables: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach and bok choy are some of the green vegetables that are calcium rich. Though spinach is extremely rich in calcium, the presence of oxalates makes calcium absorption difficult in comparison to other green vegetables. Only five percent of calcium from spinach is absorbed in the body as compared to broccoli, where 50 percent of calcium is absorbed in the body.
  • Beans: Beans such as kidney beans, black beans, white beans, etc are great sources of calcium. They contain all the benefits that are lacking in dairy products.
  • Herbs, spices and seeds: Herbs like dried basil leaves, oregano and ground thyme are calcium enriched too. Sprinkle these on your salads and other dishes for quick dose of calcium. Add some sesame seeds to your soups, salads as one tablespoon of sesame seeds provide 88 mg of calcium and some magnesium too. Spices such as cinnamon, cumin and cloves should not be underestimated either as they are also good sources. 
    Herbs and spices
  • Orange juice: A half cup of calcium fortified orange juice contains anywhere between 150 to 250 mg of calcium.

These are some of the main sources of calcium that are highly suitable for those who are lactose-intolerant. For those who rely primarily on dairy products must also consider the above options for nutritional diversity in their plate. In addition, people who follow vegan lifestyle, the above sources of calcium would be of great help.
Must read:
Importance of Vitamin D
Importance of Magnesium