What Are the Best Sources of Calcium?

There’s a list of nutrients we know we need to consume every single day in order to stay healthy. Calcium is an important one that often gets overlooked, especially by women. In fact, Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, nutritionist and health expert, told POPSUGAR that “females are less likely than males to get adequate amounts of calcium from food.”

This is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, because if we’re not getting the proper nutrition our body needs, we won’t be able to achieve our fitness goals or maintain our overall health; calcium is essential for bone health.

“Weight-bearing exercise is important for maintaining strong bones, but this also requires a healthy diet with adequate calcium,” Sass said. “And calcium is needed for muscle contractions. Inadequate calcium over time can increase the risk of bone fractures.”

Here’s the first thing you need to know: Sass says women need between 748 to 968 milligrams of calcium a day, while the National Institutes of Health recommend 1,000 milligrams. It may sound like a lot, but if you eat the right foods, you won’t have a problem at all hitting that mark. Below is a list of foods that Sass recommends eating on a daily basis, as they’re very high in calcium:

  • Dairy products
  • Sardines
  • Salmon (with edible bones)
  • Cooked collard greens
  • White beans
  • Black eyes peas
  • Sesame seeds
  • Bok choy
  • Seaweed
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds

There’s something in this list to suit every kind of diet, whether you’re vegan or a meat eater.

“More than 99 percent of calcium in the human body is found in bones and teeth to help make and keep them strong,” Sass said. You also need all that calcium for proper nerve and hormonal function. So don’t skip out on these nutritionally dense foods! Your body needs every bit of calcium it can get.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim

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