Calcium is an essential mineral required by the body. It is necessary for maintaining bone health. Calcium also plays a vital role in helping your muscles and nerve tissue function properly. A calcium deficiency can lead to a host of medical problems. You can suffer from osteoporosis and osteopenia. Calcium deficiency has also been linked with muscle problems, depression, dental problems, and fatigue. A long term calcium deficiency can have severe repercussions on your health. To avoid this, you need to maintain a high calcium intake. In most cases, people rely on calcium supplements to increase calcium intake. While this can be beneficial, you must also boost your dietary calcium. Read on as we discuss how you can do this.
1. Consuming More Dairy
Dairy products are a rich source of calcium. Most people believe that drinking milk can provide their body with a sufficient amount of calcium. This is a common misconception. In reality, dairy products such as Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese contain more calcium. If you are looking to increase calcium intake, we suggest you add these to your diet along with milk.
2. Adding Leafy Green Vegetables to Your Meals
This is another great way of increasing your calcium intake. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale are highly rich in calcium. You can add these as a sideline to your meals every day. These vegetables also contain other essential nutrients such as Vitamin A and C, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
3. Eating Fish
Fish is a potent source of calcium. You can include foods like sardines, pilchards, and salmon in your diet to increase your calcium intake. Make sure you balance your meals, though. Consuming too much animal protein can have a negative effect on your body. It can increase your uric acid levels. This can lead to other health problems. It can also result in bone loss.
4. Eating More Seeds and Nuts
Besides including more calcium-rich foods in your meals, you can snack on nuts and seeds with high calcium content. For instance, sesame seeds, almonds, and Brazil nuts are an excellent source of dietary calcium. You can also try fortified juices and cereals.
The most abundantly-available nutrient in our body, calcium also happens to be abundantly critical for maintaining bone strength. Calcium is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body; and this essential nutrient positively enables muscle movement and cardiovascular function.
That’s not all! According to a research article from the US National Library of Medicine calcium reduces hypertensive disorders, prevents osteoporosis, and keeps cholesterol in check. The recommended daily intake of the mineral stands at 1000 mg!
While milk is our most conventional source of calcium (125 mg of calcium per 100 ml of milk), there are other food sources that are equally rich in calcium if not more. Let’s delve deep into the top seven calcium-rich foods that you need in your diet right now:
1. Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese is an aged Italian wonder named after its area of production ‘Parma’. Made with unpasteurized cow milk, it works beautifully when grated over pasta dishes, stirred into soups and risottos.
Parmesan cheese is not only a brilliant source of calcium (a 100 grams of parmesan gives about 90% of the daily required intake of calcium), it also offers a good source of protein, fat, vitamins (A, B6 & 12), and is low in lactose!
2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a rich source of calcium as they offer 250 to 600 mg of calcium per 100 grams of seeds. These tiny power-packed nutrients, pack a punch full of fibre, protein and vitamins (B1 and B2).
Chia seeds are also low in calories (101 calories per 28 grams) and are loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, thereby helping in managing weight, warding off heart ailments, and maintaining bone health.
Of all nuts, almonds have the highest calcium content (28 grams of almonds delivers 8% of the recommended dietary intake of calcium).
They are also a rich source of fibre, magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, fats, and protein—and hence help in lowering blood pressure, body fat, and other risk factors for metabolic diseases.
Providing us with 53% of the daily dietary recommendation of calcium (per 100 gram of tofu), this versatile ingredient is also an excellent source of amino acids, iron, and other micronutrients.
Believed to be accidentally discovered about 2000 years ago in China, tofu is a gluten-free and low-calorie food that contains no cholesterol and helps fight cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and also offers relief for certain symptoms of menopause.
5. Black eyed peas (lobhia)
Besides being a good source of calcium (10% of the daily dietary value per 100 g of lobhia), black-eyed peas are low in fat and high in protein and hence possess disease prevention qualities. These calcium-rich fibrous beans help lower blood levels of damaging LDL cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, and heart disease(s).
6. Beetroot greens
This superfood is packed with high amounts of vitamins and nutrients, including iron, protein, magnesium, zinc, and fibre. Offering 114 mg calcium per 100 gram, it also happens to be extremely low in calories, fat, and cholesterol.
In this long line of benefits, beetroot greens also contain plenty of nitrates that help lower blood pressure, improve oxygen levels, fight inflammation, improve digestive health, and support brain health.
Commonly known for its high vitamin C content, orange is our go-to citrus fruit for salads and juices. Enriching us with 40 mg of calcium per 100 grams of orange, this low-calorie fruit contributes to clear skin, lower blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, and the presence of fibre helps with weight management and controlling diabetes.
Calcium is the magic mineral that you need and now, you know which foods are rich in it!
Summer is here and if you have been profusely sweating all day, feel fatigued and low on energy quite often—then it’s time to rejig your diet and change what you eat. And while you’re at it, include more and more seasonal foods in your diet.
Why is it important to eat seasonal foods?
Seasonal fruits are available in abundance, are better to taste, are packed with macro and micronutrients, and contain less chemicals and pesticides than non-seasonal foods. Needless to say, they benefit both our health as well as the environment.
But what’s seasonal and what’s not these days?
If the year-long supply of gobhi and watermelon have you confused about what’s in season, then here are a couple of pointers for you:
- Seasonal foods are always locally available and in more quantities than non-seasonal foods
- They are pocket friendly and cheaper than non-seasonal fruits
So in the summer, we must opt for foods that are harvested during the summer as they can help you achieve the nutritional requirements for the season.
What foods should you eat this summer?
Summer foods essentially help restore the fluids in the body, are cooling, and give you a much-needed energy boost. These are all the foods you must consume this summer:
- Cereals: Whole grains and millets like jowar, barley, rice, brown rice, ragi, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet, buckwheat, and arrowroot flour are cooling cereals that must be incorporated in your diet.
- Pulses: Pulses like moong, matki, masoor and cowpea (or chawli) are more summer-appropriate than other pulses because they are more cooling in nature.
- Dried fruits: Dried fruits especially black currants and raisins are very cooling for our system.
- Vegetables: The Gourd family of vegetables especially bitter gourd (karela), bottle gourd (dudhi/lauki), ash gourd (kumda), Snake gourd (chichinda), ridge gourd (dodka), pointed gourd (parwal), spiny gourd (kantola/kakoda), apple gourd (tinda), little gourd (kundru), and sponge gourd (turai/gilki) are must haves as they are available only during these times and contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals and medicinal properties that build immunity, fight diseases and keep the body cool.Other vegetables like cucumber, tomato, spinach, lady finger, pumpkin, capsicum and bell peppers, eggplant, lettuce and its varieties, and potato are also healthy to consume and incorporate in during the summers.
- Rehydrating beverages: Coconut water, lime juice, fruit juices, fruit smoothies, frozen fruit yogurts, sugarcane juice and infused water must be consumed at regular time intervals to keep you energized and hydrated at all times of the day. Fresh herbs like mint can add freshness to the juices, smoothies, and yogurt and also cool the body down.
- Water: Besides consuming hydrating beverages you must also consume adequate amounts of water in order to maintain normal electrolyte balance, facilitate the body’s processes, and cleanse the body.
Include these summer foods in your diet in order to stay fit and energetic. Until next time!