Monday, June 25, 2018

got milk? If not, try these other calcium rich foods

Dairy-free Calcium Sources

Not only does calcium build healthy bones and teeth but it ensures your muscles and nerves work properly too.  For each muscle cell to contract it has to pump calcium in and out.  Calcium is important for nerves because they fire their signals by releasing calcium.  This mineral also helps the body maintain healthy blood vessels, regulate blood pressure, and even prevent insulin resistance (which could lead to Type 2 diabetes) . Adults need about 1,000 milligrams a day—that's a little more than three 8-ounce glasses of milk—but what if your Nutrition Response Testing program includes not drinking milk or eating milk products?  Or what if you're vegan, lactose intolerant, or just don't like the taste of dairy products? Here's a little-known fact: there are lots of non-dairy foods with calcium. Here are 15 of them:

1. White Beans

191 mg  in 1 cup canned
Creamy and light, these legumes are a great source of calcium and iron . Add them to a gluten-free pasta dish with veggies or skip the chickpeas and make your own hummus with white beans.

2. Collard greens

268 mg per 1 cup cooked

In addition to serving up more than a quarter of your daily calcium needs, this Southern favorite is also loaded with nearly three days worth of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps keep your eyes sharp as you age. Though collard greens are traditionally cooked with butter and fattening meats like bacon, they also taste great sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

3. Sardines

321 mg in about 7 sardines fillets
There’s nothing fishy about sardines—they are one of the healthiest fish to munch on! Along with calcium, they also provide a hefty dose of omega 3s and vitamin D. 

4. Dried Figs
107 mg  in 8 whole dried figs
For a sweet treat, this dried fruit packs an antioxidant, fiber, and calcium punch . Eat them as a midday snack.

5. Bok Choy
74 mg in 1 cup
This versatile Chinese cabbage provides a hefty dose of vitamins A and C, along with calcium and fiber. Stir-fry bok choy with garlic and olive oil for a perfect side dish.

6. Blackstrap Molasses

172 mg  in 1 tablespoon
When your sweet tooth strikes, it’s best to go natural. Blackstrap molasses is darker in color and richer in flavor than regular molasses, and is filled with calcium, iron, and other vitamins. Plus, it’s a great sweet and flavorful addition to many dishes. 

7. Kale

188 mg in 2 cups raw (chopped)
This superfood is filled with calcium and antioxidants and is perfect to use as the base of any salad when shredded into thin strips or easy to add to a smoothie.

8. Black-Eyed Peas

185 mg in 1/2 cup canned
These beans are filled with calcium, potassium, folate, and more! Skip the mayo and make a black-eyed pea spread to pump up any sandwich or appetizer.

9. Almonds

72 mg in ¼ cup (about 20 nuts)
You’re "nuts" if you don’t grab a handful of almonds every now and then! They’re the most nutritionally dense nut, packing a crazy amount of nutrients per calorie and ounce. Aside from calcium, they also contain potassium, vitamin E, and iron. Eat alone or always good to sprinkle on a salad. Just watch out for portion size!

10. Oranges

65 mg in 1 medium fruit
Full of vitamin C and calcium, enjoy this fruit as a mid-morning snack, or use its citrus flavor to brighten up any dish,

11. Turnip Greens

197 mg in 1 cup cooked (chopped)
This leafy green comes from turnip bulbs, and is filled with calcium, antioxidants, and folate, which could help improve mood. Sautee them as a side dish.

12. Sesame Seeds

88 mg in 1 tablespoon
These unassuming seeds are more than just a hamburger bun decoration. Sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and may even fight against certain cancers. Use their nutty crunch in a salad or add to any vegetable dish.

13. Seaweed

126 mg in about 1 cup raw
Fish aren’t the only, well, fish in the sea. Seaweed is full of calcium, fiber, and iodine, which helps with proper thyroid function. Drink your miso soup, eat your seaweed salad or add a little to a green smoothie.  Just make sure the seaweed salad doesn't have artificial colors.  


14. Broccoli

86 mg in 2 cups raw

Believe it or not, in addition to calcium this cruciferous veggie contains nearly twice the vitamin C of an orange. Research also shows that diets high in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including colon and bladder cancer.

15. Okra
82 milligrams in 1 cup 

Okra contains constipation-fighting insoluble fiber, as well as vitamin B6 and folate. And don't write off this veggie if you've only ever had a boiled, slimy version; oven-roasting, sautéing, or grilling bring out the best flavor. 

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