Shortage of calcium in one’s body can cause pain in the legs, knees, and arms. With our body not producing the mineral, it becomes necessary to consume enough in our daily diet. Your calcium requirement changes as you grow. A young child requires a higher amount of the mineral and may need to include more calcium rich foods in their diet. Adults need a relatively lower amount of calcium, and then the requirement rises as one grows old.
An average healthy adult needs at least 600 mg of calcium every day. That number can go up to 2000 mg in case of a natural deficiency or if other factors drive your need for calcium. Lifestyle choices, physical exertion, diet, pregnancy, lactation etc. are a few factors that can define your body’s need for calcium.
Calcium Rich Foods
Here are 15 calcium rich foods that need to be a part of your diet:
Popular as a good source of protein, soy products are also rich in calcium. Switching between soybeans, tofu, soy milk, or soy nuts, in your daily diet can ensure you never lose out on calcium consumption.
Packed with vital nutrients, a cup (100 mg) of almonds can give you about 264 mg of calcium. Adding some to your salads or cereals can make your meal taste better while also making it more nutritious. You can also boost your calcium intake, simply by adding almond powder to your glass of milk.
While oranges may be known for their high vitamin C levels, a 100 g serving of oranges can account for 40 mg of calcium. You can add it to your salads, or and make them more nutritious than they already are. Eating an orange a day can help add to your daily calcium intake.
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Red Millet (Ragi)
Millets like ragi, jowar, bajra, etc. have been a part of Indian cuisine for generations now. However, it is only recently that the benefits of this grain have come to light. A mere 100 g of millets can give you as much as 364 mg of calcium. Replacing your daily atta with these calcium rich foods or simply adding some to your atta can result in more wholesome rotis.
Amaranth seeds, also called Rajgira or Ramdana is another significant source of calcium. A 100 g serving of amaranth seeds, in flour or grain form, provides you with 330 mg of calcium. Make your salads and morning cereals more nutritious by adding some amaranth seeds to them. You can also ensure your rotis are healthier by adding amaranth powder to the regular wheat flour.
Black Eyed Peas (Chora/Chawli)
This simple household legume is a wondrous source of calcium. A 100 gm serving of these beans gives you 126 mg of calcium, the same as one bowl of cooked chawli.
The greens(leaves and stalk) of a turnip are said to be a great source of calcium. A 100 g serving of turnip greens yields about 190 mg of the vital nutrient.
As children, we may have eaten spinach only because it is Popeye’s favourite source of energy. However, in addition to having a lot of iron and vitamins, it is also rich in calcium. A 100 g serving of cooked spinach accounts for around 99 mg of calcium. Ideally, spinach should be cooked for over a minute, to get rid of the oxalic acid content, in order to avoid the absorption of calcium being blocked.
While this may seem a little surprising, okra or ladies’ finger also contain a good amount of calcium. A 100 g serving of the same gives you about 86 mg of calcium when it is not overcooked or fried.
All green beans (long beans, French beans, or flat beans) give you about 56 mg of calcium from a serving of 100 g. However, make sure not to overcook these beans, so as to retain its nutrition value.
Apart from being rich in iron and magnesium, broccoli is also a good source of calcium. 100 g of cooked (steamed or stir-fried) broccoli florets and leaves, yield about 56 mg of this vital nutrient.
Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
Pungent and sharp, this essential ingredient of Chinese food, contains a significant amount of the much-needed nutrient. A 100 g serving of raw bok choy provides 105 mg of calcium.
These tiny sea creatures are, quite surprisingly, packed with calcium. 100 g cooked sardines can provide you with 42 mg of calcium. You can also opt for the canned ones, that can be eaten directly.
Besides being a favourite amongst seafood lovers, prawns are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids too. In addition to that, prawns can give you as much as 100 mg of calcium from a mere 100 g serving (without shells). Avoid overcooking this delicate seafood to retain its nutritional value.
Both dried and raw figs are packed with antioxidants, fibers, and a whole lot of calcium. They can be eaten as a snack or as a part of your salads. About 100 g of raw figs can give you up to 80 mg of calcium.
If you deprive your body of the necessary amount of calcium, it can lead to muscle atrophy (stiffness and rigidity), dysfunction of nerves, loss of appetite, lethargy, and reduced brain function. Likewise, excess calcium can also pose a threat to your body. The key is to strike the right balance and consume just the required amounts of the mineral by including the aforementioned calcium rich foods in your diet.