What is the best source of supplemental calcium? 30+ foods high in calcium and its benefits for each age.
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|Calcium is an important nutrient for the human body, as it plays a vital role in bone and heart health, muscle function and nerve signaling.|
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Benefits of calcium for health
Calcium is an important mineral that plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the body's health. It is not only essential for bone growth and maintenance, but is also involved in many other functions in the body. Here are some health benefits of calcium:
- Build and maintain bones and teeth: Calcium is the main component of bones and teeth, helping to increase their thickness and hardness. Providing the body with enough calcium helps maintain healthy bones and teeth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis and dental disease.
Muscle function: Calcium is needed for muscles to function correctly. It plays an important role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including the heart and other muscles in the body.
- Neurotransmitter function: Calcium plays an important role in transmitting electromagnetic signals between nerve cells. Maintaining balanced calcium levels in the body is important to ensure normal function of the nervous system.
- Supports stable blood pressure: Calcium participates in the process of controlling blood pressure. It helps blood vessels contract and expand correctly, contributing to maintaining stable blood pressure.
The importance of calcium for children
Calcium is essential for development and building strong bones and teeth during childhood. Our bones hold most of the calcium in the body. Up to 99% of the body's calcium is found in bones. This needs to be 'supplemented' daily from our diet. If we don't get enough calcium as children, we may be at risk of weak bones and fractures as we grow older.
Here is a guide to the calcium content of these calcium-rich food sources:
Milk: Contains 270mg of Calcium in 250 ml of milk or 1 cup of whole milk
Calcium-fortified soy milk: contains 300mg Calcium in 250 ml or 1 cup of milk
Cheddar cheese and other hard cheeses: contain 320mg of Calcium in 40g
Yogurt: contains 240–340mg of Calcium in 200g of yogurt.
The importance of Calcium for adults and the elderly
Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in the health of older people. More than 99% of calcium found in the body is stored in bones and teeth. Calcium plays an important role in keeping bones healthy and has a role in muscle function, nerve transmission and hormone secretion.(1)
Many older people do not consume enough calcium. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of older adults are at risk of calcium deficiency. (2) For adults, and especially the elderly, insufficient calcium intake is associated with osteoporosis, and causes other bone diseases.
Signs of calcium deficiency and how to prevent it
Here are some calcium deficiency signs and symptoms to watch out for, which may indicate a calcium deficiency:
Mild hypocalcemia may not have any symptoms (asymptomatic).
Poor oral health: Calcium helps our teeth stay strong and adhere tightly to the jawbone. When the body lacks calcium, teeth are susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Abnormal heart rhythm: Calcium is important for heart function. Calcium deficiency can lead to more severe conditions such as seizures and arrhythmia, which can be life-threatening.
Fatigue: One of the most common early symptoms of calcium deficiency is fatigue. Cells become malnourished, leading to fatigue and body aches.
Muscle pain and spasms: Calcium is essential for proper muscle function and a calcium deficiency can lead to muscle pain, stiffness and spasms.
Cognitive problems: Calcium deficiency can affect cognitive function, causing symptoms such as brain fog, confusion and dizziness.
Numbness and tingling in the extremities: Calcium plays an important role in the central nervous system. When deficient, it can impact nerve function and cause numbness and tingling in the fingers, hands, feet and toes.
Epilepsy: In rare cases, calcium deficiency can cause epileptic seizures.
Symptoms of mild hypocalcemia may include muscle cramps (especially in the back and legs), dry and scaly skin, brittle nails, and coarser-than-normal hair.
Severe hypocalcemia can lead to neurological and psychological symptoms such as confusion, memory problems, irritability or restlessness, depression, and hallucinations.
Severe hypocalcemia can also cause physical symptoms such as tingling in the lips, tongue, fingers and feet, muscle pain, muscle spasms in the throat making it difficult to breathe, stiffness and muscle spasms (tetany), seizures, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), and congestive heart failure.
Food groups rich in calcium
There are many calcium-rich food groups that you can add to your daily diet to ensure you provide enough calcium for your body. Here are some food groups rich in calcium:
Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, soy milk and powdered milk are popular and nutritious sources of calcium. One cup of milk (240ml) can provide about 300mg of calcium. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk if you're concerned about calories. In addition, milk is also an extremely effective source of calcium supplements for the elderly.
Vegetables and juices
There are many vegetables rich in calcium such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, watercress and collard greens. In addition, juice from green vegetables can also provide a certain amount of calcium. Add these vegetables to your daily diet to increase calcium supply.
Nuts and beans
Seeds such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and legumes such as peanuts, soybeans and chickpeas are also rich sources of calcium. They not only provide calcium but also contain many other nutrients such as protein, fiber and unsaturated fats. You can add seeds and beans to dishes like salads and muesli, or use them to make bean juice to drink.
Foods rich in protein
Besides calcium, protein is also an important nutrient for health. There are many protein-rich foods that you can add to your daily diet. Some protein sources rich in calcium include poultry such as chicken, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, seeds and beans such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, peanuts and soybeans.
To ensure you're getting the right amount of calcium and protein, consider including a reasonable combination of calcium-rich and protein-rich food sources in your daily diet.
30+ foods high in calcium you should not ignore
There are many ways to supplement calcium for the body, of which diet is an important way. Below is a list of 30+ foods high in calcium that you should not ignore:
Orange, tangerine, kiwi, mulberry, raspberry, papaya, apricot, pineapple, passion fruit juice
Citrus fruits are all rich sources of calcium. One cup of orange juice (240ml) contains about 50mg of calcium.
Tofu and eggs are excellent sources of calcium for vegetarians or vegans. A serving of tofu (100g) contains about 300mg of calcium. One large egg contains about 60mg of calcium.
Catfish, tuna, sardines
Catfish, tuna and sardines are rich sources of calcium. A serving of catfish (100g) contains about 300mg of calcium. A serving of tuna (100g) contains about 300mg of calcium. A serving of sardines (100g) contains about 325mg of calcium.
Collard greens, spinach, green radishes, kale, bok choy
Dark green leafy vegetables are a rich source of calcium, they are also easy to prepare and often appear on the list of dishes rich in calcium. A serving of collard greens (100g) contains about 150mg of calcium. A serving of spinach (100g) contains about 130mg of calcium. A serving of green radishes (100g) contains about 150mg of calcium. One serving of kale (100g) contains about 100mg of calcium. A serving of bok choy (100g) contains about 100mg of calcium.
Milk, yogurt, cheese
Milk and dairy products are the best sources of calcium. One cup of milk (240ml) contains about 300mg of calcium.
Okra, broccoli, parsley, sweet potatoes, celery
Other vegetables also contain significant amounts of calcium. A serving of okra (100g) contains about 100mg of calcium. A serving of broccoli (100g) contains about 50mg of calcium. One tablespoon of parsley (15g) contains about 25mg of calcium. A small sweet potato (150g) contains about 50mg of calcium. One celery stick (100g) contains about 50mg of calcium.
Brussels sprouts, soybean sprouts, green beans
Other vegetables also contain significant amounts of calcium. A serving of Brussels sprouts (100g) contains about 50mg of calcium. One tablespoon of soybean sprouts (15g) contains about 20mg of calcium. One cup of green beans (150g) contains about 50mg of calcium.
To supplement calcium effectively, you should incorporate different calcium-rich foods in your diet. In addition, you should also drink enough water to help your body absorb calcium better.
Notes when supplementing calcium:
Do not supplement too much calcium, as it can lead to health problems such as kidney stones.
Calcium should be supplemented with vitamin D, because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium better.
Top foods rich in calcium for vegetarians
Vegetarians can source calcium from food sources that do not contain animal products. Here are some nutrient-rich sources of calcium that vegetarians can actively seek out:
Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, quinoa seeds and sunflower seeds all contain significant amounts of calcium. Chia seeds (126 mg per 2 tablespoons) and almonds (88 mg per cup) lead the pack.
Dark green leafy vegetables: Green vegetables with low oxalate content such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage...) provide available calcium. High-oxalate green vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard also have calcium but they are absorbed less by the body.
Tofu contains calcium: tofu made with calcium sulfate not only tastes better (personal opinion!) but also has more calcium.
Beans: Green beans, black beans, and white beans provide 80, 46, and 120 mg of calcium per cup, respectively. If you eat three servings of beans a day, the amount of calcium you provide to your body will be significantly enhanced!
Berries: Some berries contain surprisingly large amounts of calcium, like raspberries (42 mg per cup) and raspberries (31 mg per cup). This doesn't happen with all berries, but those tiny berries are packed with other nutrients.
Foods to avoid when taking calcium supplements
You're trying to build a healthy, calcium-rich diet. However, it is easy to accidentally consume foods that can limit the absorption of vitamin C in the body. Below is a list of foods to avoid when taking calcium supplements:
Foods rich in oxalate: Oxalate is a compound that can bind to calcium in the digestive tract, reducing the body's ability to absorb calcium. Some oxalate-rich foods include:
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli
Nuts and legumes such as peanuts, lentils, pumpkin seeds
Foods rich in phytate: Phytate is a compound that can bind to calcium and other minerals, reducing the body's ability to absorb them. Spinach is naturally high in calcium but it is also high in oxalic acid. The body cannot process the amount of calcium it is given. Other foods that contain oxalic acid include beet greens, rhubarb, and sweet potatoes.
Although these foods are not rated highly for their calcium value, they still provide other nutrients and minerals that help keep the body healthy.
Does protein interfere with calcium absorption?
Nutrition experts have warned that eating a lot of protein will cause the kidneys to excrete calcium from the body. But recent studies show that protein can also increase intestinal calcium absorption. To be able to draw an accurate conclusion requires more time and research on this issue.
Beer, cheese and snacks are three factors that reduce calcium
Alcohol and salty foods are catalysts that cause the body to excrete calcium. When blood calcium levels decrease, the body extracts (reabsorbs) calcium from the bones to get the amount of calcium it needs to function normally. Calcium excretion can make bones porous, which can lead to the development of osteoporosis.
To minimize calcium excretion from the body:
Avoid eating foods with a sodium content higher than 20% of the recommended daily value.
Don't drink more than two or three glasses of wine a day.
Nguồn tham khảo:
1. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2011.
https://www.nap.edu/read/13050/chapter/5. Accessed November 19, 2019.
2. ter Borg S, Verlaan S, Hemsworth J, et al. Micronutrient intakes and potential inadequacies of community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review.
British Journal of Nutrition. 2015 Apr; 113(8):1195-206.