Do you know the joke about the woman who takes her son to a museum to see the dinosaurs? Well, as soon as they walk in, the child spots a huge skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex and is completely amazed. After a couple of seconds of silence, he asks: “Mum, what kind of calcium supplements did this guy take?”
While such a replica is expected to be heard from a child and is considered a great punch line to a fine joke, calcium is no joke for kids and adults alike. It is one of the vital minerals in our bodies and essential during the early development of a child. It builds our bones, strengthens our teeth, allows muscle contraction and enables an uninterrupted blood flow. That is why we should take as much calcium as we can, in all stages of our lives. However, only natural sources should be taken into consideration, so here are some calcium-rich foods you should pay attention to.
This is the most obvious choice out there – depending on the type, milk generally has between 276 mg (3.25% fat) and 305 mg (1% fat) of calcium per cup. Of course, there are different varieties of milk on the market, and some types, such as skimmed milk, have more calcium than other sorts.
However, you should be very careful not only when choosing which milk you drink, but also how much of it you consume daily. Despite its numerous positive effects, milk is “actually only one of many sources of calcium” and cannot be considered the absolute best for all people, suggests Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Chia and Sesame Seeds
Over the past years, we have been noticing an increased interest in chia seeds as an addition to our daily diets as they have a number of health benefits, from preventing diseases to increasing strength. Nevertheless, not many people know that 100 grams of dried chia seeds include as much as 630 mg of calcium, too! This means that just an ounce of chia seeds amounts to about 18% of your daily calcium needs, which is quite a lot. Finally, besides calcium, these helpful seeds are full of omega-3 acids, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
When it comes to sesame seeds, on the other hand, they also have a high calcium content with about 88 mg per tablespoon, which transfers to 975 mg per 100 grams of whole dried sesame seeds. In addition to that, sesame is full of magnesium and copper that enhance the effects of calcium even more, making these seeds quite powerful and beneficial. Due to its pleasant taste, sesame is often used in cooking, both as a spice and as a dressing, so you can elevate your level of calcium by using it daily.
This is yet another unexpected source of natural calcium with about 187 mg in a single cup. There are various kinds of oatmeal, so you can eat it morning after morning – but stick to sugar-free ones, just in case. Furthermore, if you add fruits, milk or yogurt, you will not only make your meals more exciting, but also increase the amount of calcium.
Even though some people advocate that oatmeal blocks your calcium absorption, while others question its health benefits, it is actually one of the best sources of this mineral, especially for lactose intolerant people. Ultimately, oatmeal is easy to make and can be consumed as breakfast, dinner or a nutritious snack between meals.
Depending on your taste and diet, there are plenty of other options for you to explore. Remember, you do not have to limit yourself to milk, but try things like almonds, white beans, kale, sardines and salmon.