Why You Need More Calcium In Your Diet | 37 Dairy and Non-Dairy Sources

This post is to help you get the most out of your weight loss journey with calcium supplementation. Our bodies need calcium for many different functions, but did you know it also helps to regulate metabolism?

Calcium can also improve mood and sleep patterns which are two other factors that contribute to weight gain! We’ll go into more detail about how much calcium should be taken daily for optimal health benefits in this article.

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dairy and non-dairy sources of calcium including cheese, vegetables, and fruit
It’s no secret that calcium is important for strong bones, but did you know that it can also help with weight loss? A lot of people are surprised to learn this.

How Does Calcium Help You Lose Weight?

Calcium provides small increases in thermogenesis which means you burn more calories. Thermogenesis is the process where your body uses extra energy to produce heat (thermo). Magnesium and calcium work synergistically for this function, but that’s something we’ll go into depth about in another post.

Calcium And Sleep

If you are down or have trouble sleeping at night, then calcium can help calm your nerves and properly regulate your sleep patterns. This will increase the body’s ability to efficiently lose weight!

What Does Calcium Do For Your Body?

The body uses calcium to build and maintain healthy teeth and bones. It is also needed for muscles to contract, including the heart, and the release of hormones.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. About 99 percent of the calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth. The remaining one percent carries out a variety of important functions within cells, tissues, and organs.

What Foods Provide Calcium?

Calcium is found naturally in many foods, including milk and other dairy products, dark green vegetables like kale and broccoli, fish with small bones (such as sardines), soybeans, tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, and bread and cereals with added calcium.

42 Foods With High Amounts Of Calcium

Non-Dairy Calcium Sources

1. Soybeans, mature seeds, sprouted, cooked – 1 cup (252g)

2. Tahini (sesame seed butter) – 2 tbsp (32g)

3. Collard greens, boiled – 1/2 cup (78g)

4. Bok choy, raw – 6 spears (90g)

5. Okra, raw – 1/2 cup (80g)

6. Figs, dried – 5 figs (40g)

7. Oranges – 1 orange (88g)

8. Rhubarb – 1-1/2 cup (210g)

9. Kale, raw – 1 cup (67g)

10. Almonds – 1 ounce (28g)

11. Blackstrap molasses – 2 tbsp (32g)

12. Turnip greens, boiled – 1 cup (178g)

13. Dried prunes – 10 prunes (38g)

14. Swiss chard, boiled – 1 cup (140g)

15. White beans, canned – 1/2 cup (123g)

16. Parsley, dried – 1 tbsp (3g)

17. Broccoli rabe, boiled – 1/2 cup (67g)

18. Black-eyed peas (cowpeas), boiled – 1 cup (182g)

19. Collards, raw – 1 cup (36g)

20. Pumpkin seeds, hulled – 1 ounce (28g)

21. Pistachio nuts – 15 kernels (30g)

22. Mustard greens, boiled – 1/2 cup (90g)

23. Broccoli, boiled – 1/2 cup (78g)

24. Almond butter – 2 tbsp (32g)

25. Butternut squash, cooked – 1/2 cup (100g)

26. Turnip greens, raw – 3/4 cup (90g)

27. Black beans, boiled – 1/2 cup (123g)

28. Beets, canned, regular pack, drained – 1/2 cup (100g)

29. Tofu, firm – 4 ounces (113g)

30. Collards, raw – 1 cup (36g)

The 7 Best Dairy Sources Of Calcium

  1. Milk – 1 cup (245g)
  2. Yogurt – 5 ounces (140g)
  3. Cheddar cheese – 1 ounce (28g)
  4. Swiss cheese – 1 ounce (28g)
  5. Feta cheese – 1/2 cup crumbled (75g)
  6. Cottage cheese, 1% milkfat – 1/2 cup (123g)
  7. Evaporated milk – 3 tbsp (44g)

5 Fruits That Are Rich In Calcium

  1. Mango
  2. Banana
  3. Orange
  4. Guava
  5. Cantaloupe

Why You Need Calcium

Calcium is essential for the growth and development of bones and teeth. It also helps the muscles (including the heart), nerves, and hormone secretions function properly.

Besides calcium, what are other ways to maintain healthy bones?

Your body uses several nutrients to build and maintain strong bones. These include calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, magnesium, and fluoride.

To keep your bones strong, get at least the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D — and try to meet your body’s other nutrient needs, too.

Adequate intake of protein is also essential for building and maintaining healthy bone tissue. Eating a balanced diet with enough calories helps ensure that you get adequate protein. Protein-rich foods come from both animal and plant sources.

In addition, getting enough vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and fluoride support bone health.

Weight Training For Stronger Bones

Weight training helps build strong bones by putting stress on the bones in your body, prompting them to strengthen in response.

If you don’t exercise regularly, consider starting a weight training program to start building and maintaining bone density.

Weight training also builds muscle mass and reduces body fat. This means that it can improve your overall health, as well as help, keep bones healthy.

How Much Calcium You Need

In general, calcium needs vary by age. The National Institutes of Health recommend that adults get 1,000 mg of calcium per day. For ages 19 to 50, the recommendation is 1,000 mg/day. Ages 51 and above, women need 1,200 mg/day and men need 1,200-1,500mg per day.

What Are Signs Of Calcium Deficiency?

Most people get the calcium they need from dairy products and other foods, so deficiencies are rare. However, older adults are at risk for bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis.

If you are concerned about calcium intake, your doctor may recommend testing including a blood test to measure calcium levels and other tests to check bone health.

Why Should You Take Calcium Citrate?

Although other forms of calcium supplements are available, calcium citrate is the most easily absorbed by the body due to its high solubility.

Calcium citrate is recommended if you have a condition that makes it difficult for your body to absorb calcium, such as:

  • Gastrointestinal and stomach disorders. For example, people with lactose intolerance or inflammatory bowel disease may not be able to absorb calcium carbonate supplements well. So taking calcium citrate might be a better option.
  • Kidney stones. Some studies suggest that taking calcium citrate makes it easier for your body to eliminate excess calcium, which may help reduce the risk of kidney stones.
  • Osteoporosis. Calcium citrate supplements may be more effective than other forms of calcium at strengthening bones and preventing bone loss. Also, some evidence suggests that calcium citrate might reduce the risk of broken bones (fractures).

Your doctor may recommend taking calcium citrate if you have osteoporosis. But talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.

Why You Should Take Calcium With Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from your intestines for use by your muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, bones can become thin or brittle.

Most people get the calcium they need from food, but if your diet doesn’t include adequate calcium-rich foods, taking a calcium supplement with vitamin D may be important.

You don’t have to take vitamin D with each calcium supplement you take, but if you have trouble getting enough vitamin D in your diet, it may be a good idea to add vitamin D to your supplement regimen.

Vitamin D also comes from sun exposure. You can get vitamin D from 15 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen. Allow your body to absorb the UVB rays; don’t use sunscreen during this time.

What Else Does Calcium Do For Our Bodies?

We all know that calcium is important for bone health and strength, but calcium also plays a role in:

Muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission

For example, calcium helps your heartbeat and may play a role in the electrical activity of the brain.

Cell membrane function

Within each cell are fluid-like structures called “organelles.”

The main types of organelles are the nucleus — where genetic information is stored. Mitochondria — which help your cells produce energy. Endoplasmic reticulum — which helps with protein synthesis and transport within the cell.

Calcium plays a role in helping these “organelles” do their job.

For example, the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum has specialized pumps that move calcium into the organelle. In muscle cells, calcium activates muscle-specific proteins and is involved in muscle contraction.

The bottom line: Calcium affects almost every function of your body, so it’s important to have a balanced diet with foods containing this mineral.