Calcium is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body. It is needed by almost every cell in the body in one way or the other. It is required for the health of your teeth and bones. However, it also affects your nerve function, muscles, hormones and the ability to form blood clots. According to research, calcium may help with problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure and PMS.
Calcium is stored in the bones which provide support to the body. But, when we age, the ability to absorb calcium from the foods we eat decreases. This causes the body to take calcium from the bones and over time, the aging process leads to osteoporosis which is a kind of bone disease where the bones become brittle and weak.
Dairy products such as milk and cheese are considered as good sources of calcium. But, there are a number of nutritionists and health experts who suggest that you should not be entirely dependent on dairy products to get all the calcium your body needs. There are some nutritionists who are against the use of dairy in diet. In fact, some nutritionists and health experts have reported that consuming calcium from dairy products alone can reduce its absorption. An average adult needs about 1,100mg of calcium per day and according to recent studies, only about 30 percent of calcium is absorbed by the body when it comes only from dairy sources.
In order to absorb calcium, the body needs Vitamin D. When there is not sufficient Vitamin D, the body cannot produce the hormone calcitirol. This leads to insufficient absorption of calcium from the diet. A daily intake of 600 IU is recommended by experts and there are three ways in which you get enough of this vitamin. These include from the foods you eat, from the supplements and through the skin.
Some people don’t like the taste of dairy, some are lactose intolerant, cow’s milk can cause allergies too and studies also suggest that introducing children to cow’s milk from an early age can lead to Type 1 diabetes. While dairy contains high levels of calcium, science says it can be dangerous. But, luckily there are other options for getting all the calcium needed by your body and these are the non-dairy sources. Here’s a look at the top 10 non-dairy foods highest in calcium.
Sardines are a good source of calcium. A 90g can of sardines provide about 346.54mg of calcium which is about 35% of the daily value.
A 100g serving of broccoli contains about 47mg of calcium which is about 4% of the daily value.
A 100g serving of fresh oranges provide about 40mg of calcium which is about 4% of the daily value.
Another good source of calcium is almonds. About 93 mg of the nutrient can be obtained by consuming ¼ cup of almonds.
5. Dried Figs
Provides 135mg of calcium per 5 fig serving
You get about 51 mg of calcium per 1 tablespoon serving of sesame seeds.
The bones in canned salmon hold all the calcium so next time you bring home canned salmon, don’t throw the bones away. A 90g can of salmon provides 181mg of calcium which is about 20% of the daily value.
Half cup serving helps you meet about 25% of your recommended daily intake. It contains about 205mg of calcium.
9. Collard greens
These provide about 268 mg per one cup cooked serving which is about ¼ of the recommended daily intake.
10. White beans
Provides 120 mg per ½ cup serving which is about 11% of the total daily value.