Calcium is a very important mineral in the body. Most people know that calcium is important, but are you getting enough of it to meet your needs?
Just the Basics:
Calcium is a necessity, as we know. Most of the body’s calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. It plays a role in our development and bone health, ensuring strong bones and teeth throughout the aging process. Calcium has a variety of functions beyond bone structure, though. It plays a role in muscle contraction, nervous system functioning and blood clotting.
There are a variety of ways to meet your calcium needs. The easiest is through the consumption of dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt. You can find calcium in other places as well, such as in leafy green vegetables and canned fish. Additionally, you can find it in foods fortified with calcium. Check the labels on juices and cereals to see if they are fortified. Some medications are also sources of calcium, such as certain antacids.
- 1 cup milk = 300 mg
- 1 cup yogurt = 450 mg
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese = 65 mg
- 1 oz. hard cheese = 200 mg
- 1 cup broccoli = 180 mg
- 1 cup spinach = 249 mg
- 1 cup kale = 55 mg
- 8 oz. fortified juice = 300 mg
Consider adding a variety of these sources into your diet. Add a cheese slice to your sandwich, swap spinach for iceberg lettuce in your lunchtime salad, or add a cup of fortified orange juice to your breakfast. Small changes can quickly add up.
How Much Do You Need?
As you go through different life stages, your need for calcium changes. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults ages 19-50 is 1,000 mg per day. Males within the ages of 51-70 need 1,000 mg, but women 51-70 need 1,200 mg.
Other health conditions may also change your requirement for calcium. Pregnant or breastfeeding women need 1,000 – 1,300 mg. Those who have had bariatric surgery require 1,200 – 1,500 mg per day. It is best to talk to a health professional if you have specific questions regarding your recommendation.
If you are unable to meet your calcium needs through food, you may consider a supplement. Often, a calcium supplement with vitamin D is recommended to increase absorption. Calcium can be found in the form of Calcium Citrate or Calcium Carbonate. Calcium Citrate is more easily absorbed, but Calcium Carbonate is often more readily available.
Try this Smoothie Recipe!
Spinach Avocado Smoothie from EatingWell.com
If you are looking for a quick, calcium-rich breakfast, try adding a quick smoothie into your day. It includes calcium-rich sources such as yogurt, berries and spinach.
- 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup frozen banana
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. honey
- Combine all the ingredients above into a blender. Mix and enjoy!