Calcium is a very important element in any healthy diet. It is essential not only for strong bones and teeth but also for the maintenance of healthy blood vessels and blood pressure and other parts of the body.
If the body does not have enough calcium (and the vitamin D that enables it to be absorbed), it will start stealing from its own bones, leaving them weak and prone to breaking.
This nutrient is particularly key if you have diabetes or are at risk for getting diabetes. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are believed to play a part in the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Studies have suggested that calcium helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in people who have diabetes. Some evidence also points to the possibility that adequate calcium could decrease the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes.
Be careful not to get too much calcium either, though. One study has suggested that overly high levels of calcium in the body may put you at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Although the study was not entirely conclusive, it’s better to be on the safe side and try to hit as close as possible to the recommended calcium and vitamin D consumption. The recommended daily dose for babies is about 220 milligrams per day, and for adults the number is 1000 milligrams. Constipation could be a sign of too much calcium in your diet.
So while there is some risk involved in getting too much calcium, we know that most people tend to get too few of their daily recommended doses of vitamins and minerals rather than too many. Those who are picky about their food or who have dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance may struggle to find a good source of calcium in the foods available to them. We’ve listed as many calcium-rich as we could below to help you find your ideal source (or sources) of this valuable mineral!
1. Dairy Products
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all great sources of calcium. They’re probably the most well-known, and we’ll definitely get into the more surprising calcium-rich foods later in this list, but we couldn’t leave the top calcium producers!
2. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed are also wonderful places to turn if you need a little extra calcium in your life. If you aren’t fond of nutty flavors, try a little bit of ground flaxseed on almost any other food, or hide sunflower seeds or sesame seeds in a salad.
For those of you who still refuse to try tofu, here’s another reason why you should reconsider. Besides, tofu is a wonderfully versatile food. There are a bazillion ways to cook it. Odds are you can find at least one way you like.
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