Top 10 Foods With Calcium

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In this article, we are listing the top 10 foods with calcium. Following a balanced diet is important for overall health, but it can be difficult to meet the recommended intakes for different nutrients. So doing so can be especially important for bone health.

Adequate calcium intake is vital for the body to form and maintain strong, healthy bones that help with overall bodily functions and contribute to weight loss. Calcium aids in muscle contraction and helps regulate nerve conduction as well as keeping blood vessels flexible and lowering high blood pressure and

Top 10 Foods With Calcium

Calcium is an important nutrient for the body. During pregnancy, you need more calcium for your health and the health and development of the baby growing inside of you.

For Your Baby

Your developing baby needs calcium to form bones and teeth.1 They’re building an entire skeleton, after all. Calcium is also an important nutrient for your baby’s heart, muscles, nerves, and hormones.

For You

During pregnancy, you give your baby all the calcium they need, so when you consume the recommended amount of calcium every day you are taking care of your baby and yourself. If you don’t get enough, you could run into some complications.

Regardless of whether or not you take in enough, your body will still give calcium to your baby. So, if you are not replacing what you’re giving away, you could end up with weakened bones and a greater risk of osteoporosis later in life.2

Complications

Complications are possible as a result of both too little and too much calcium. Luckily, they’re easily preventable.

Too Little Calcium

You probably won’t experience any major pregnancy complications if you don’t consume the recommended amount of calcium each day exactly.

Common signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency

Calcium is an important mineral needed by the body to build strong bones and teeth. It is also required for the proper functioning of the heart and other muscles of the body. Calcium deficiency can increase your risk of osteoporosis, osteopenia and hypocalcemia.

People who do not get enough calcium as kids, do not grow to their full potential height as adults. The recommended amount of calcium per day can be obtained from the food, supplements and vitamins.

A calcium deficiency is more likely to cause complications if it’s due to a health issue such as a kidney problem, surgery, or the need to take certain medications.

Not consuming enough calcium can lead to:

  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers
  • Slow growth of the baby
  • The baby not getting enough calcium in the bones
  • Heart problems
  • Muscle and leg cramps
  • A poor appetite
  • In rare cases, increased risk of bone fractures.

In severe and rare cases, too little calcium could lead to death. While, understandably, many of these complications are a cause for worry, remember that you are likely to get some calcium without even trying. Plus, you should have enough stored in your bones to provide for your growing baby.

In the case that you do have any health issues listed that are more likely to lead to too little calcium, your doctor will be well aware and working closely with you to prevent any complications.

Too Much Calcium

It is rare to get too much calcium from the foods that you eat. You are most likely to take in an excessive amount of calcium if you use supplements.4

It’s important to understand which nutrients and how much of each nutrient is in your prenatal vitamin and any other supplements that you take. You may be getting extra without even knowing it.

It’s always best to talk to your doctor about any vitamins that you are taking or considering, so you get what you need without taking too much. If you are 19 or older, you do not want to take more than 2,500mg of calcium each day, and if you are 18 or younger, you do not want to go over 3,000 mg daily.

Ingesting too much calcium can cause:4

  • Constipation
  • Kidney stones
  • Possibly trouble absorbing other minerals, such as iron and zinc
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low calcium in the baby’s body5

Sources

Your body does not make calcium, so you have to get it from food, fortified products, and supplements.

Food Sources

Four servings of fortified milk or other fortified dairy products will fulfill your daily calcium requirement by giving you about 1,200mg (approximately 300mg per serving). A glass of fortified orange juice has the same amount at about 300mg per serving. Other foods such as greens, nuts, and beans have a little less (about 100mg per serving).

Make sure the dairy products you eat are pasteurized and talk to your doctor about the type of milk and dairy products that are best. Low-fat and non-fat milk contains all the calcium and nutrients of whole milk without the extra fat and calories. However, your doctor will advise you on the best choice based on whether you are underweight, within the recommended weight range, or overweight.

The serving sizes and calcium content listed below are averages provided by the USDA.

Dairy products that are a great source of calcium include:6

  • Milk (1 cup, whole, 276mg calcium).
  • Cheese (2 slices or 1.5 ounces, 307mg calcium)
  • Yogurt (8 ounces, plain, low fat, 415mg calcium)
  • Kefir (1 cup, lowfat, 316mg calcium)7

Other foods rich in calcium include:8

  • Collard greens (1 cup cooked, 268mg calcium)
  • Kale (1 cup cooked, 177mg calcium)
  • Broccoli (1 cup cooked, 64mg calcium)
  • Bok choy (1 cup cooked, 158mg calcium)
  • Soybeans (1 cup cooked, 184mg calcium)
  • Baked beans (1 cup cooked, 160mg calcium)
  • Almonds (1 cup, roasted, salted, 370mg calcium)
  • Salmon (6 oz, 15mg calcium)

Please note that while fish is considered healthy during pregnancy, there are some caveats to consuming it. In general, pregnant women are advised to avoid larger fish that are known to have higher levels of mercury, such as swordfish and king mackerel.9

Common calcium-fortified products include:8

  • English Muffin (1 muffin, 100mg calcium)
  • Waffle (2 pieces, 200mg calcium)
  • Calcium Fortified Orange juice (1 cup, 349mg calcium)
  • Cereal (1 cup, 100-1,000mg calcium)

Be sure to check the product’s packaging for labeling that indicates it’s been fortified with calcium.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Calcium
While rare, a deficiency in calcium can lead to numbness in the fingers and toes, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms. A long-term deficiency can lead to bone loss (osteopenia) and fragile bones (osteoporosis). (1)Conversely, excess calcium (particularly from supplements) can lead to kidney stones, calcification of soft tissue, and increased risk of vascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. (1)High calcium foods include tofu, milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, beans, clams, okra, trout, and acorn squash. (2) The daily value (DV) for calcium is 1300mg.

While there is some evidence that phytic acid and oxalic acid in beans and greens can hinder calcium absorption, green vegetables and beans are still a good source of calcium, and the calculated daily value (DV) already takes into account absorption and bio-availability.  For more info, see the section on calcium absorption.

Below is a list of high calcium foods by a common serving size, for more see the nutrient ranking of over 200 foods high in calcium. Also see the lists of high calcium vegetables, and high calcium fruits.

Calcium helps you lose weight, studies show. “Really exciting research shows that if you get three servings of dairy daily, you’re not only preventing osteoporosis, but you’re enhancing weight loss,” says WebMD Weight Loss Clinic dietitian Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD.Unlike Milk, Cheese And Yoghurt Do Not Pose Any Risk To Your Heart Health Or Your Lifespan
However, that research has only involved dairy projects, she adds. “It seems there is a synergistic relationship between protein and calcium. Eating other calcium-rich foods, like collards, won’t do that.”

Nonetheless, calcium in any form is good for your body. Some of the top calcium-rich foods are:

1. Cheese

2. Yogurt

3. Milk

4. Sardines

5. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens

6. Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (They have a lot of calcium in one serving.)

7. Fortified orange juice

8. Soybeans

9. Fortified soymilk (Not all soymilk is a good source of calcium, so it’s best to check the label.)

10. Enriched breads, grains, and waffles.

Diet Tips

If you enjoy dairy and can easily consume four servings a day (8 ounces per serving), then you’ll have no problem reaching your daily goals. But, if you aren’t a big fan of straight dairy, there are preparation methods that you may enjoy more than just drinking a cup of milk or eating a cup of yogurt.

Here are a few easy options to help you get what you need.

  • Have cereal in the morning. Enjoying a bowl of cold cereal or hot cereal/oatmeal made with milk is a great way to start the day.
  • Make it a latte. Add a little extra milk into your morning coffee or tea.
  • Top it with cheese. Add a little bit of cheese to your salads, soups, and other dishes.
  • Make it creamy. Add some milk or evaporated milk to your recipes and make creamy soups, sauces, casseroles, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and other delicious dishes.
  • Substitute some dairy in your cooking. Use milk instead of water to cook noodles, pasta, rice, oatmeal, or other foods.
  • Change your regular order. Have a glass of milk or chocolate milk with lunch or dinner instead of a soda or another beverage. In colder weather, enjoy a hot chocolate made with milk instead of water.
  • Add it as a snack. Fill the fridge with cut-up cheese cubes, string cheese, or flavored yogurt so they’re ready and easy to grab when you need a little bite to eat.
  • Have a treat. Enjoy a bowl of ice cream or frozen yogurt, a small milkshake, yogurt and fruit smoothie, or some pudding for dessert

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