Over the last couple of decades it seems we have been convinced that the only way we can consume adequate calcium is from dairy sources, however I have some great news for you, especially if you are lactose-intolerant or simply prefer to avoid dairy products. There are plenty of other foods that contain just as much, if not more, calcium than cow’s milk!
As you may have heard us mention before at TNN, the majority of dairy products are highly processed and therefore can’t be put in the same category that we call real food. In particular, pasteurized dairy is subject to high temperatures to destroy impurities, which at the same time, destroys the nutritious constitutes and the calcium actually becomes insoluble.
Calcium is such an important nutrient in the body as it is required for normal development and maintenance of the skeleton, it strengthens our bones and teeth, as well as regulating proper function of our muscles, nervous system and heart.
Adults should be consuming at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily and unfortunately less than half of all Australian adults reach this daily recommended intake. To put this into perspective for you, 1 cup of milk contains approximately 250mg of calcium, so in order to consume the recommended dietary intake of calcium via milk alone, you would need to consume over 1 litre per day.
To help increase your intake, here are some great sources you should try, along with tips on how to implement them into your diet:
Dark leafy greens – kale alone is higher in calcium than most dairy sources, so load up your salads and smoothies with leafy greens and your bones will thank you for it. My personal favourite is sautéing a couple of large handfuls of both kale and spinach in some coconut oil, it’s the perfect addition to any dish!
Tahini – this super spread contains almost triple the amount of calcium per gram in comparison to milk. Great addition to salad dressings, savoury dishes and even sweet treats like our nut free no-muesli bars.
Chia seeds – these seeds are an excellent source of calcium containing 180mg per serve. Chia pudding is a favourite breakfast option for the team at TNN and when combined with coconut milk you have roughly the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk! As we are approaching the warmer weather chia pudding is a great way to start your morning, find our recipe here.
Sardines – high in vitamin D and B12 also, the perfect vitamins to help with calcium absorption.
Almonds – the most popular of all nuts and for good reason. Not only do they contain calcium, but are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, just the way we like our snacks at TNN. Almond milk is also a tasty and healthy alternative to cow’s milk, try our Super Easy Almond Milk recipe here.
Beans – at approximately 190mg of calcium per cup, make white beans or kidney beans your next choice, just be sure to factor in their carbohydrate load. Add them into your favourite salads, soups and even curries!
Dried Figs – who knew you could get calcium in such a sweet food, keep in mind the sugar content here and stick to 1-2 per sitting!
If you would like extra advice on how to reach adequate vitamin levels or feel you may be experiencing some sort of vitamin deficiency, our practitioners can guide you in the right direction and provide you with the necessary advice and support. Book your appointment here to get on track with your health and reach the best version of you!