Plant-Based Calcium Source
How many of you remember being told by your parents and doctors to drink a lot of milk back when you were young? Remember them saying that drinking milk will help you get stronger bones and teeth?
The main reason why they emphasized on milk so much is that it is one of the cheapest and the best sources of calcium, a vital mineral that is beneficial for a number of bodily functions. Also, the human body doesn’t produce calcium on its own, which is why we have to rely on calcium-enriched foods to fulfill our body’s calcium requirement.
However, not many people now are a fan of milk and other dairy products, mainly due to lactose-intolerance. If you feel the same, you ought to know that there are many plant-based sources that contain large amounts of calcium which you can include in your daily diet. Carrots, tofu, broccoli, sweet potato, orange, and spinach are just a few examples of these calcium-containing plant sources.
Benefits of Calcium
Before you pick your favorite plant-foods that contain calcium, take a look at some of the most important benefits of calcium and ways in which it helps the human body to stay healthy.
Increased Bone Health
We all know that calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. It not only maintains bone strength, but it is also crucial for the development of new bones in children. Did you know that 99 percent of the calcium in the body is stored in our teeth and bones? All of this calcium comes from the food you eat, which is why it is essential to ensure that you are consuming enough calcium-rich foods.
As you grow, calcium is mainly responsible for the development of your bones. But once you stop growing, it continues to help maintain the health and strength of your bones. It also prevents bone density loss for as long as it can, which is quite a natural aspect of the aging process.
Low bone mass is a common risk factor for osteoporosis, a disease that makes your bones extremely brittle and weak. However, with enough calcium and other essential minerals and nutrients in your body, you can prevent that from happening.
Balanced Blood Pressure
Calcium plays a huge role in balancing the blood pressure levels in the body by helping all the blood vessels such as veins, arteries capillaries relax and constrict when needed. One of its key responsibilities is to regulate the flow of blood in these blood vessels by determining the amount of blood that flows through them.
For instance, if the flow of blood in one of your arteries is too high, it can significantly increase your blood pressure levels. This eventually adds too much strain to the walls of your artery and the heart, which, in turn, can lead to a stroke or heart attack. So, calcium works together with other nutrients like potassium, Vitamin D, and magnesium to produce a combined effect that balances the blood pressure in your blood vessels.
How all Calcium Can Be Found from Plant-Based Sources
These are some of the best and most delicious plant based-sources that contain varying amounts of calcium, some of which you can include in your daily diet.
250 mg/ 100 g
Also known as bean curd, tofu is made of condensed soy milk which is pressed into solid white blocks that can be found in many varieties in terms of softness levels.
Although tofu has a reputation of being quite bland in taste, it is one of the greatest sources of calcium. The calcium content in tofu majorly depends on the type of coagulant from which it has been made.
175 mg/ cup
This is a legume species that is mainly grown for its edible seed. Soybeans are really good for your bones. Soy comes naturally from plants and has also shown to produce positive effects on the prevention of osteoporosis.
145 mg/ 0.5 cup
If you’ve grown up watching the cartoon ‘Popeye the Sailor’, you know how healthy and beneficial spinach is for your body. This leafy green vegetable is enriched with vitamin K that boosts the production of Osteocalcin, a protein that stabilizes calcium in the bones.
Eating spinach regularly is a surefire way to strengthen your bones and keep them healthy even when you age.
120 mg/ 1tbsp
This is a type of condiment made from sesame seeds. It is a common and popular ingredient used to make hummus. Sesame seeds contain a high calcium content, which automatically makes tahini rich in calcium.
100 mg/ cup
This is the same soybean variety that is used to make tofu. Edamame is made prepared by immature soybeans that are boiled or steamed in their pods before you eat them. Since soybeans are naturally high in calcium, it makes edamame calcium-enriched, too.
Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a variety of legumes that offer many health benefits. They are full of protein, fiber and minerals, as well as calcium. They are great for bone health, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body.
75 mg/ 1tbsp
Popularly consumed by many people in their breakfast, chia seeds are bursting with nutrients and incredible health benefits. Their calcium content is quite impressive, and you should definitely include it in your daily diet.
65 mg/ 1 unit
Who doesn’t like oranges, right? The fruit is sweet, tangy, sour and super juicy! The best part is that it’s a high calcium food and contains large amounts of vitamin D, which is vital for calcium absorption in the body. Oranges are also one of the best fruits to boost your immune system.
60 mg/ cup
Best known for its vitamin C content, broccoli is a crunchy leafy green that also provides you with adequate amounts of calcium. It is certainly one of the best leafy greens to include in your daily diet.
40 gm/ medium unit
Low in fat and calories, but high in calcium, vitamin A and potassium, Sweet potato offers excellent health benefits. It is also incredibly delicious with a unique, sweet taste.
40 gm/ medium unit
As amazing as this root vegetable is for the eyes, it is also good for your bones and protects one from osteoporosis, given the high calcium content.
30 mg/ cup
Also known as salad rocket and rucola, arugula is an edible green plant with quite a unique, peppery taste. It is excellent for bone health as it contains about 8 times more calcium as compared to iceberg lettuce.
30 mg/ 2 units
Bright red, delicious and juicy, tomatoes are one of the most commonly consumed vegetables not only for its unique flavor profile but also its nutritional value. Tomatoes are rich in a variety of nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy,
30 mg/ 1 cup
Often substituted with rice, quinoa is a crop that is popularly grown for its edible seeds. It is considered to be healthier than rice as a single cup of quinoa contains more fiber and protein as compared to the same amount of rice.
On top of that, it is an excellent source of calcium, making it an all-rounder kind of food for good health.
30 mg/ 9 nuts
This edible nut isn’t only full of flavor, but also comprises of so many health benefits. It contains great amounts of calcium and is said to be the highest in calcium among all other nuts. In addition to that, almonds are also rich in magnesium, vitamin E, fiber, protein and healthy fats, making it an excellent addition to your morning breakfast.
40 g/ 2 units
Not many people like figs, but there’s no denying the fact that it is one of the healthiest fruits that offer multiple health benefits. Dried figs are a great source of calcium, fiber and antioxidants, together which cater to numerous functions in the body.
Since our bodies cannot produce their own calcium, it is essential that you consume as much calcium as possible and include plant-based calcium sources in your daily diet.