The first thing most people think of when they hear calcium is “milk.” This is mainly because the American dairy industry heavily promotes the consumption of milk as a human’s sole source of calcium. What they often fail to let people know is that there are many other excellent sources of calcium. From where you ask? Well, plant foods of course! Calcium from plant foods are well-absorbed by the body, and can range anywhere from celery to more higher-containing calcium foods like chia seeds and broccoli.
Calcium is a major material used by the body for mineralization of bones and teeth. It is also used in many different cellular processes such as nerve and muscle function and blood clotting. When dietary calcium is too low, calcium is leaked from the bones, and is instead used for functions required for survival. This, in turn, makes our bones weak and brittle.
The recommended daily calcium intake for adults aged 19-50 years and men 51-70 years is 1000 mg per day, whereas that for women over 51 years and men over 7o is 1200 mg per day. Research suggests that diets containing these calcium amounts, or more, can help reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis as people age.
Diet’s high in protein, particularly animal protein, result in higher calcium loss in urine, which may be directly correlated to increased fracture risk. Eating a lower protein diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, will ensure your body is absorbing the minerals and vitamins from your food, instead of having these minerals stripped from your bones to be used or excreted elsewhere.
25 Calcium-Rich Plant Foods:
1. Chia seeds (2 ounces = 600 mg)
2. Sesame seeds (1 tbsp = 90 mg)
3. Kohlrabi (1 cup = 390 mg)
4. Almonds (1/4 cup = 94 mg)
5. Collards (1 cup = 357 mg)
6. Spinach (1 cup = 250 mg)
7. Turnip greens (1 cup = 249 mg)
8. Brazil nuts (1/4 cup = 55 mg)
9. Kale (1 cup = 179 mg)
10. Broccoli (1 cup = 178 mg)
11. Bok choy (1 cup = 158 mg)
12. Okra (1 cup = 135mg)
13. Pumpkin seeds (55 mg per 100 grams)
14. Butternut squash (1 cup = 84 mg)
15. Green Beans (1 cup = 58 mg)
16. Mulberries (1 cup = 55 mg)
17. Celery (1 cup = 54 mg)
18. Cabbage (1 cup = 50 mg)
19. Artichoke (1 artichoke = 40 mg)
20. Gooseberries (1 cup = 38 mg)
21. Onions (1 cup = 36 mg)
22. Brussels sprouts (1 cup = 36 mg)
23. Asparagus (1 cup = 28 mg)
24. Avocado (1 avocado = 18 mg calcium)
25. Coconut meat (1 cup = 11 mg)
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