Today’s topic will focus on calcium and bone health! It can be intimating to hear about so many vitamins and minerals we’re suppose to consume within our diets. To keep it simple, eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods is the easiest way to ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.
So, today I wanted to touch upon one of the main minerals-calcium. There are two groups of essential minerals that your body needs to thrive: trace and major minerals. Trace minerals are those that the body requires in small quantities for normal function, such as zinc and iron, whereas major minerals are those that are required in large amounts. Despite the differences in the amounts we need, trace and major minerals are equally as vital for our bodies to function optimally. Calcium is classified as MAJOR, as it’s the most abundant mineral within the body.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that calcium is good for your bones. Not only is it good for your bones, but it is necessary for SO MANY other important functions within your body as well. Some of these functions include:
- Muscle movement
- Bone strength
- Blood flow throughout the body
- Hormone and enzyme release
- Message delivery by nerves between the brain and all body parts
These processes that are constantly occurring throughout our body without us even knowing are incredibly important for our bodies to function healthily. Another fun fact about calcium is that almost all calcium is stored in our bones AND our teeth.
Okay, so now that we know how many great things calcium does for our bodies, let’s discuss what foods contain calcium. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to stick to natural sources of calcium. I personally believe natural sources are ideal for calcium absorption, but calcium is also commonly consumed from foods that have been fortified with calcium as well such as some cereals or fruit juices.
Naturally Occurring Calcium Rich Foods
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese top the list as the best sources of calcium, but this doesn’t have to be your only source, especially for those who are lactose-intolerant. Surprisingly, vegetables such as leafy greens (i.e. kale, broccoli, turnips, bok choy, and cabbage) all contain a good source of calcium as well. Almonds (my personal favorite), fruits like oranges and figs (yum!), and legumes including white beans and black-eyed peas all include an adequate amount of calcium. Finally, canned seafood, in particular salmon and sardines, are an excellent source of calcium.
Do you any of these foods sound appealing to you?
Are they already apart of your diet?
Get creative in the kitchen and try incorporating some of these calcium rich foods into your diet today!
*As a reminder, I encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your health, as the information I provide should not replace any medical advice. I write based on my own personal research and experiences. 🙂
National Institutes of Health. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
WedMD, LLC. (2014). Super Foods for your Bones. Retrieved from: http://www.medicinenet.com/super_foods_for_your_bones_pictures_slideshow/article.htm