Calcium is a mineral that is most known for creating and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it does so much more in the body. Your heartbeat relies on calcium to beat regularly and all of the muscles in your body need this mineral to contract. It also plays a major role in blood clotting, blood vessel health and proper hormonal balance. Not getting enough calcium can cause significant symptoms that can negatively impact your quality of life and these may include memory loss, numbness and tingling, hallucinations, muscle spasms and depression.
Getting Enough Calcium
Most people are able to get adequate calcium from their diet, but you do not have to rely on dairy foods to get enough of this mineral. Eating a varied diet and bringing in some non-dairy sources of calcium will ensure that you are getting enough and this is especially important for those who are unable to eat dairy products due to a lactose intolerance. Adults ages 19 to 50 need to get 1,000mg of calcium each day. Women between 51 and 70 need 1,200mg of calcium each day and men between 51 and 70 need 1,000mg each day.
Looking at Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
White beans have about 190mg of calcium in one cup and you can incorporate these into your diet in a number of ways. These legumes are also high in iron and you can add them to your salads or your pasta dishes. They can also be made into a hummus if you are looking for a new and tasty dip.
Dried figs have about 105mg of calcium when you eat about eight of them. These are sweet and they are also rich in fiber and health-boosting antioxidants. These can be eaten plain as a snack or they can be added to salads for a touch of sweetness.
Bok choy and kale are two superfoods that are both jam-packed with calcium. Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage that contains about 75mg of calcium in a single cup and it is also high in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. Kale contains about 190mg of calcium in two cups and it is also full of critical antioxidants. Both of these greens are perfect in salads or mixed into your favorite stir-fry.
Sesame seeds are often touted as a superfood and with good reason because a single tablespoon contains about 90mg of calcium. These seeds can also work to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and fight against certain cancers. These can be sauteed into pasta dishes or tossed into your favorite salad for a burst of important nutrients.
Oranges are known for being high in vitamin C, but they also have about 65mg of calcium in a single medium orange. Add an orange to your day by enjoying one as a mid-morning snack, or create a citrus salad and add some chopped orange for a bit of zest. You can also make a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice each morning for a blast of calcium and vitamin C.