Adults and children alike need to include calcium in their diet to maintain proper health and keep their bones healthy and strong. Nearly every system in the human body uses calcium and as we get older, the body absorbs less calcium. People who don’t receive enough calcium in their diets may suffer from osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
We can receive the majority of the calcium we need from the food we eat, extra vitamins, nutritional supplements, and vitamin D. It’s important to keep calcium in our diets, but where can we find it? Here are some of the easiest places to find calcium and include it as part of your regular routine.
Love your greens!
Leafy greens are full of vitamins, nutrients, and above all…calcium! The best sources for calcium are broccoli, cabbage, spinach, seaweed, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, and other dark green vegetables. Add more veggies to your plate with every meal, or create sensational salads with these flavorful veggies. Do you hate the taste of green vegetables? How about trying them in a smoothie or fruit drinks? Be sure to add a handful of leafy greens into your fruit smoothies as a breakfast treat or midday snack. You’ll enjoy the full benefits these greens have to offer and you won’t even realize you’re receiving a healthy serving of calcium into your diet!
Cook more fish.
Fish is an essential source of omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, and other essential minerals. But did you know that fish is also full of calcium, too? Who knew! Calcium doesn’t always come in the form of dairy products or greens. Fish like salmon, sardines, and cod are full of available calcium. Grill up some fish this summer with asparagus, zucchini, and peppers—or even some grilled kale or romaine lettuce! Create a healthy “fish and chips” with coconut flour-breaded cod and jicama or sweet potato fries.
A handful of nuts a day is best.
Nuts are not only packed with healthy fats, but they’re also rich in calcium! Just a handful every day can make a huge impact on your health. The nuts that pack the most nutrients, minerals, and calcium are Brazil nuts and almonds. Sprinkle some almonds on your salads. Add a tablespoon to your smoothies for a heartier taste. Chop up some of your favorite nuts and add them to your favorite flavored Greek yogurt. You can also add almond butter to your whole grain toast in the morning.
Reduce your caffeine intake.
Are you a coffee or tea lover? Need to increase your calcium intake? Drinking several cups of your favorite caffeinated drinks each morning may be hindering your efforts to get more calcium in your body! Caffeine actually reduces and stops calcium absorption in the body when consumed in excess over long periods of time. If you don’t want to give up your favorite hot or iced drinks in the morning, try gradually switching to caffeine-free coffee or tea with reduced caffeine levels. There are hundreds—and even thousands—of other choices out there that are just as tasty!
Enjoy your dairy!
This one is a no-brainer. Dairy products are the simplest way to get more calcium into your diet. Stock your fridge with low-fat or non-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, cheese, kefir, and more. If you’re lactose-intolerant, there are plenty of non-dairy items available for you to enjoy and even some delicious lactose-free alternatives to milk in your grocery store’s dairy case, such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and more.