Calcium is one of the most active and important minerals in your body, performing everything from maintaining healthy teeth and bones, aiding in the absorption of vitamin D, helping to regulate heart muscle movement and reducing blood clotting.
You have probably heard that dairy is the best source of calcium, but that is not necessarily the case. The content of calcium in milk is not easily absorbed, and dairy can cause lots of problems within the body, including disrupting digestion, leading to skin problems and acne, and decreasing immune system health. Instead of relying on milk to get your calcium intake, try one of these 7 other calcium rich foods:
- Sesame seeds – It’s hard to believe how much calcium these little seeds have packed inside, but sesame seeds are an impressive source of this essential mineral. Although you may not be inclined to enjoy a handful of sesame seeds plain, adding them into salads, toasting them to put on top of soups and tossing into stir fries are all great ways to add them into your regular diet. Better yet though, buy them in their blended form and enjoy tahini on your toast, in hummus, in sauces and dressings or by the spoonful!
- Broccoli – Don’t think that this is just a plain veggie meant to only be enjoyed far too overcooked and slathered in cheese sauce. Instead, it is packed with calcium, vitamin K, magnesium, your B vitamins and fiber. It is indeed a nutrition powerhouse, and much of these minerals and vitamins are reserved when you enjoy it raw, maximizing its enzyme content. Cooking vegetables causes some of the micronutrients to be los, so choose raw whenever you can, and if you are cooking, opt to just blanch the vegetables.
- Almonds – These nuts have been touted as the ultimate snack for trying to lose weight due to their balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrate. They are also great however, because they are a source of calcium. Along with their fiber dose, these little nuts pack a lot of nutrients into one little shell, so it’s no wonder they are a filling snack and can aid in weight lose. Perfect to eat by the handful, on their own, they also do well on top of salads, ground into almond meal for baking, or pureed into delicious, creamy almond butter.
- Seaweed – The calcium content of seaweed is just one of the many reasons you should be consuming sea vegetables as a regular part of your diet. These vibrant green plants are an excellent source of iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function, the organ that regulates metabolism and helps you regulate your weight. They are also packed with antioxidants, thanks to their vibrant green colour, and of course, the calcium content is a great bang for your buck. You can use it for sushi, making nori maki, make sushi with it, but you can also use the nori to make wraps or add flavor to broths, toss onto a salad, or find wakame and use it as noodles. Whatever your seaweed of choice, they all pack a great health punch and taste delicious.
- Dried figs – These sweet, gooey treats belong on cheese boards and on top of decadent desserts, sliced on top of a smoothie bowl, and best of all eaten straight out of the bag. They have a lovely sweet flavor and their seedy insides and thick outer skin means they are packed with calcium and fiber. Great for boosting digestion, enjoy a couple of figs as a mid afternoon pick me up snack, or as a great, healthy after dinner dessert.
- Bok Choy – This staple Asian green is probably one that you have traditionally seen in stir fries or noodle dishes, where it tastes great with lots of veggies, fresh ginger and miso. You can also however, eat it plain, sautéed with some garlic, salt and lemon juice, or steamed with other veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll get a great boost of calcium, fiber and a healthy dose of Vitamin C.
- Leafy greens – Kale, spinach, collard greens and rainbow chard all taste delicious and are loaded with calcium. Their antioxidant content makes they great for detoxifying the body, and they are rich in so many other vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin E and B vitamins. You can add them to cooked recipes and get an extra boost of green, (think stir fries, soups and stews), or make them the star of the show and create delicious salads. The best way though, of course, is as a green smoothie!