Calcium is an important mineral primarily responsible in developing strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99 per cent of the absorbed calcium is stored both in the bones and teeth. The remaining one percent is utilized for proper muscle contractions, neurotransmitter release, and heart functions. Commonly, calcium’s source is from milk, especially for young children and older people. However, there are people who are allergic or lactose intolerant who cannot sustain ingesting milk in order to maintain their calcium needs. They must know how to get calcium without dairy.
Eating calcium-rich foods is not enough. What matters is the absorption of calcium for the proper functioning of different systems in the body, especially for the development of the bones and teeth. Vitamin D is the key factor in enhancing calcium absorption. Vitamin D can be gotten from foods including the unlimited supply of early morning sunshine.
Read on below for more helpful tips in getting calcium without dairy:
Know the required amount of calcium daily. In general, children and teenagers need to ingest 1,200 mg. of calcium daily. Pregnant and lactating women need at least 1,300 mg. of calcium per day. Men who are below 50 years of age and women who are in their pre-menopausal stage need to consume around 800 mg. of calcium each day. Men who are above 50 years old and women who are in their post-menopausal stage need 1,500 mg. of calcium every day.
Eat green, leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables like: spinach, Bok Choy, turnip greens, kale, collard greens, nori (sea vegetables), and broccoli contain considerably high amount of calcium. However, eating spinach must be coupled with vitamin C since spinach contains oxalic acid that can affect the proper absorption of calcium. Vitamin C or cooking the vegetables first will neutralize the effects of oxalic acid.
Every cup of nori (sea vegetables) contains 1,200 mg. of calcium, while each serving of turnip greens has 450 mg. of calcium. These foods are very appropriate for vegetarians and vegans.
Eat beans, nuts, and seeds. Beans like black eyed peas, soybeans, almonds, hazel nuts, pecans, English walnuts, and Brazil nuts are good sources of calcium. Other powerful sources of calcium include: kidney beans, white beans, Navy beans, pinto beans, edamame, Great Northern beans, sesame seeds, and sesame tahini. Beans and nuts are good during snack time. Instead of eating sodium-rich junk foods, eating beans and nuts are healthy alternatives.
Eat more fish and sea foods. Salmon is very rich in calcium. Wild salmon is better than those cultured in farms because of the reduced contamination of mercury and other harmful contaminants. Also include canned sardines, mackerel, and cod. Other sea foods like: seaweed, kelp, oysters, shrimp, ocean perch, blue crabs, and clams are also good sources of calcium.
Eat fruits and drink calcium-fortified beverages. Oranges, figs, and raisins are calcium-rich fruits. In particular, one orange contains 75 mg. of calcium. A calcium-fortified orange juice contains 350 mg. of calcium. After eating calcium-packed vegetables, fish, beans, and nuts, drinking orange juice or any other calcium-fortified drink thereafter over soda or any carbonated drink is a healthy option.
Take calcium supplements. The major classifications of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate, calcium phosphate, and calcium gluconate. These supplements are in the form of pills or chewable tablets. Before taking calcium supplements, it is best to consult a doctor first.
Hypocalcaemia is commonly known as calcium deficiency. It may be due to an insufficiency in calcium intake or poor calcium absorption. Calcium deficiency symptoms include: muscles twitches, muscle pains, tiredness, and pallid skin. If left unattended, over time hypocalcaemia can lead to bone rickets and osteoporosis which normally happens in older people. In order to prevent or eliminate a calcium deficiency, juts follow the above-mentioned tips on how to get calcium without dairy.