By Joy Feldman, NC,JD
Most of us are careful about counting calories and watching our fat intake. Maybe you even walk 3 miles each day rain or shine. But do you pay close attention to one of the most important minerals your body needs for bone health?
When it comes to strengthening bones and teeth, Calcium is the king of minerals. Moreover, it also helps muscles and nerves function optimally. And it’s important to note, that Calcium isn’t something that your body can manufacture itself, so it’s essential your diet meets this critical need.
Did you know that bones and teeth store about 99 percent of the calcium in the body, with the remaining one percent usually found in blood, muscles, and other bodily tissues and fluid? Now this is important to note- if you do not get enough calcium from the foods you eat, your body will literally take the minerals out of your bones, depriving them of this critical nutrient.
So what are the best sources of calcium? Dairy foods are an excellent source of calcium, but so are green leafy vegetables. One cup of spinach contains almost 250 milligrams of calcium, while a cup of kale has almost 100 milligrams. Broccoli contains 80 milligrams, making it another healthy vegetable to include in your diet. Other excellent sources include canned sardines (325 mg per 3 oz), canned salmon (180 mg per 3 oz), nuts such as almonds, legumes like garbanzo beans or peas, and fortified tofu (130 mg per 1 cup).
There are many easy ways to boost your calcium intake by sneaking these foods into your daily diet:
- Add beans to soups, chili, and pasta dishes.
- Grate cheese over soups and salads.
- Enjoy yogurt with some crushed almonds.
- Include leafy vegetables in baked casseroles
- Increase your intake of cooked green vegetables by adding these delightful marvels to salads.
Here’s to your health!