As you grow older, your body needs a certain amount of calcium to function properly. And here's how you can get enough of it.
You might think that calcium is only something you need when you're a child. But even as you grow older, your body needs the same nutrients that help you grow, for proper functioning. When it comes to this particular nutrient, a certain amount of calcium is needed to keep your bones, muscles, and almost your entire body fit and healthy. “Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones," said registered dietician, Brigitte Zeitlin, according to Women's Health. "And the older we get, the more it plays a role, because it helps to prevent osteoporosis—a disease that can result in bone fractures, breaks, and eventually even surgery."
When people say calcium, your brain might instantly think of a glass of milk. But know that there are a number of other sources that could give your body the calcium you need, especially if you're not a fan of milk. These substitutes for milk are actually easy to add to your diet and there are plenty of options to make sure you don't get bored.
About 8 ounces of nonfat milk would have roughly 299 milligrams (mg) of milk, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). This figure can also change depending on the fat content or the type.
It is recommended that adults between the ages of 19–50 years get 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Once women cross the age of 51, they should ideally get 1,200 mg of calcium every day until they are 70. Both females and males over the age of 71 should get about 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
Apart from milk, here are the other sources that give you calcium in great quantities.
If you enjoy eating sardines, then it's time to stock up on more of them for more calcium. You can get 325 mg of calcium from 3 ounces of sardines with bones that are canned in oil. And fish is also a great source of Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are also great for your body. Your body needs adequate Vitamin D especially because it helps in absorbing calcium properly from food.
Not only are dried figs delicious but they can also give your body a kick of calcium. One and a half cups of dried figs can give you 362 mg of calcium, according to Today. Of course, you need not have all that much in one go. You can be innovative and add them to your salad, smoothie or any prepared meals.
When those midday cravings come along, keep some almonds handy. Not only is it something quick and healthy to snack on, but it will also increase your daily calcium count. You can get 320 mg of calcium from 3/4-cup of almonds.
Round off your breakfast with some orange juice (fortified). If the tangy fruity flavor of this delicious fruit is not appealing enough, its health benefits certainly would be. You can get about 500 mg of calcium from one cup or 249g of orange juice, according to Self NutritionData. Moreover, it is also packed with antioxidants that can do wonders to your overall health.
Apart from the great benefits of leafy greens, Kale can also make a great addition to your meals for calcium. When you cook 2 cups of it for lunch or dinner, you are giving your body about 359 mg of calcium. There are so many different recipes that can let kale be the star of your dish whilst giving you a good boost of calcium.
A small bowl of yogurt can be so versatile, you can add some granola or even fruits to amp it up. You can get 415 mg of calcium from 8 ounces of plain, low fat, yogurt. Apart from the obvious benefits of calcium, yogurt is one of the most easily available of all probiotic food at your local grocery store.
In your salad, on a slice of bread or a serving of pasta, or in the middle of your sandwich; there are so many different ways for cheese to get into your diet. It's a good source of calcium and some types come with higher doses than others. From 1.5 ounces of mozzarelle (part skim), you can get 333 mg. And from 1.5 ounces of cheddar cheese, you can get 307 mg.
Another yummy ingredient to your meals could be tofu and it can add a good spike to your daily calcium count. It's also a great alternative for protein, which is especially good on days where you don't want to eat or if you generally don't eat meat at all. Just one cup of firm tofu can give you 861 mg of calcium.
If you were looking for one more excuse to add salmon to your dinner, you just got a great one. You can get 340 mg of calcium from a 6-ounce piece of fresh salmon, whereas you can get 350 mg of calcium from 5 ounces of canned salmon (with bones). And just like sardines, salmon also gives you vitamin D as well as omega-3 fats.