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Top Calcium Rich Foods

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Top Calcium Rich Foods.

Almost 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the structure of the bones and teeth. The truth is, though, many of us aren’t eating enough calcium rich foods. The RDA for calcium is 1000 milligrams a day for men and women under 50, and 1200 milligrams a day for those older than 50. Did you know that Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral, and it's very important for health. It makes up much of your bones and teeth, and plays a role in cardiovascular health, muscle function and nerve signaling.

The main foods rich in calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. However, many non-dairy sources are also high in this mineral. In general, calcium food sources are found in the highest amounts in raw dairy and green vegetables.

Blood calcium is tightly controlled since it plays many critical functions, including balancing your body’s acid/alkaline body and pH. The body will borrow calcium from the bones as needed, so often that the bones are remodeled about every 10 years.

Eating calcium rich foods makes it possible for our body to achieve optimal nerve transmission, blood clotting, hormone secretion and muscle contraction. Bone calcium is also used as a storage area to release calcium into the bloodstream when it is needed. Calcium is needed for so much more than bone health, though.

Health Benefits

Bone Health

Calcium is critical in the teens into the early 20s when bones are solidifying and the body is achieving its peak bone mass. The greater the peak bone mass, the longer one can delay osteoporosis or loss of bone mass at a later age. More than 10 million US adults are affected by osteoporosis and it is one of the leading causes of broken bones in the elderly.

Weight management

There is a connection between calcium intake and lower body weight. It is believed that calcium in the diet can bind to fat in the digestive system, preventing absorption, therefore lowering the calories that actually make it into the body.

Blood pressure and heart health

Calcium rich foods help relax smooth muscle, found in the veins and arteries, and can help reduce blood pressure. The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends a diet high in calcium to help improve blood pressure. (Note, full-fat dairy has been shown to be healthier compared to low-fat dairy.)

Cancer Prevention

Studies have shown that consuming calcium rich foods are associated with a decreased risk of colon and rectal cancers. The evidence is not enough to recommend calcium supplements for the prevention of colon cancer, but eating calcium rich foods may have the same effect. (There’s actually a link between calcium supplements and heart attacks, so it’s best to get the mineral from calcium rich food sources.)

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Calcium Deficiency

Deficiency of Calcium in the body may lead to the following symptoms and problems:

·        Tooth decay

·        Muscle tension

·        Osteopenia or Osteoporosis

·        High blood pressure

Food sources and complex food based supplements are preferred to isolated calcium supplements to meet your calcium needs. In order for your body to absorb calcium your body also needs magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K.

Calcium Rich Foods

·        Raw Milk - 1 cup: 300 mg (30% DV)

·        Cheese - Most cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the most, with 331 mg — or 33% of the RDI — per ounce (28 grams). Softer cheeses tend to have less. One ounce of brie only delivers 52 mg, or 5% of the RDI. Many other varieties fall in the middle, providing about 20% of the RDI.

·        Kale (cooked) - 1 cup: 245 mg (24% DV)

·        Broccoli

·        Yogurt or Kefir – 1 oz: 300 mg (30% DV)

·        Watercress - 1 cup: 41 mg (4% DV)

·        Almonds - 1 oz: 76 mg (8% DV)

·        Sardines (with bones) - 2 ounces: 217 mg (21% DV)

·        Okra - 1 cup: 82 mg (8% DV)

·        Seeds - Seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses. Some of them are high in calcium, including poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds.

·        Bok Choy - 1 cup:74 mg (7% DV).