Top Calcium rich foods & lifestyle tips for your natural Calcium boost!
When looking to boost your calcium levels naturally, an age old wisdom stays true about eating calcium rich foods and getting enough sunshine. While both of these would definitely aid in keeping your levels umpteen, there are plenty of lifestyle habits, food choices, and combinations that effect the absorption of ingested calcium inside our body. So, it is vital that you learn about both increasing your natural calcium intake and at the same time focus on practices that would help you make the most of your calcium rich foods.
In our previous articles within this series we covered topics on identification of the symptoms of calcium deficiency and also learnt about the major causes of calcium deficiency. In this article, we will focus on the natural foods and lifestyle changes that you can employ to naturally boost your calcium level and hence overcome related health issues. So, let us learn more and begin with a little brief on Calcium itself.
Calcium: The elixir element for all bodily functions!
Calcium is an abundant and essential mineral found in the body, with 99% of it being stored in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% stays in the blood plasma regulating multiple bodily functions.
It plays an important roles in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. Drop in blood calcium level leads to leeching of calcium from the bone which is put into the blood in order to maintain optimum levels of Calcium in the plasma.
The deficiency of calcium in the body not only leads to weakening of bones and osteoporosis but also causes muscle spasms, memory loss, and even depression.
Adults under 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium daily; if you are over 50, you need 1,200 mg daily.
Calcium Rich Foods to Increase Your Calcium Intake
Calcium is better absorbed in the body from naturally Calcium rich foods rather than from fortified options or Calcium supplements. In fact, Calcium supplements are more often than not responsible for an excessive dosage of Calcium that deposits on the arteries, causing peripheral diseases including coronary disorders. Hence, it is always better to selectively increase your intake of Calcium rich foods and combine them with other elements that would in turn help to enhance the absorption of this essential mineral in the body.
- Leafy greens, especially kale, collard greens and dark green lettuce, and green herbs such as basil, Moringa, parsley, and dill.
- Dairy sources such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, and butter milk. You can opt for low fat options should you be worried about weight gain, however at Medhya we believe in wholesome food options and least tempering with natural food combinations to get maximum benefit out of it.
- Plant based calcium rich foods such as sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, almonds, and basil seeds.
- Fish with soft bones such as sardines and salmon.
- Black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans.
Minerals that help increase absorption of Calcium
Boron helps to prevent the body from losing calcium through urine by maximizing the activity of oestrogen and vitamin D in bones. Eat prunes and raisins. They contain a good amount of calcium and boron.
While Magnesium does not impact the absorption of Calcium in the body, it does impact the assimilation and utility of Calcium as the functioning of both go hand in hand. Hence, to avoid the health conditions from Calcium deficiency, one also needs to focus on Magnesium rich foods.
Good sources of magnesium include Avocado, Oily fish, leafy greens, oats, whole grains, almonds, and dark chocolate.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and also regulates calcium in the blood. And the best way to let your body soak up Vitamin D is from direct sunlight! Other sources of vitamin D include, fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified cereal, cheese, liver, eggs, butter, margarine, shrimp and oysters.
Foods combinations to strictly avoid when trying to naturally boost absorption of Calcium
Cut back on salt
Excess sodium is excreted into your urine and it takes calcium with it. The recommended daily sodium intake for adults is 1600 mg, equalling less than one teaspoon of salt. Reduce your consumption of salt in your meals and in turn increase use of herbs and spices to naturally enhance the flavour.
Additionally, processed foods and snacks have much higher content of salt, sugar, and even trans fats. Eliminate processed foods, ready to eat meals, and extremely salty snacks such as potato chips to reduce your daily salt consumption.
Reduce consumption of Caffeine and Caffeinated drinks
Caffeine leeches calcium from the bones, zapping their strength!
Do not drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day and avoid excess intake of caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks, energy shots, and colas. Additionally, to buffer the effects of caffeine, avoid drinking coffee along with your Calcium rich foods or meals.
Caffeine content also varies upon the brewing time and type of coffee you consume. Espresso brings you the highest concentration of Caffeine, followed by brewed coffee, which is still further higher than the instant coffee. So be vigilant of what you are taking apart from the amount.
Other options would be to go for decaffeinated coffee or even green tea with which you would reduce your caffeine intake by 70%. Alternatively, healthy herbal teas such as mint tea, fruit teas, or basil tea would not only help you reduce your caffeine intake but also bring additional pack of anti-oxidants and bio flavonoids that are hard to get via regular meals.
Quit Drinking Soda
Soda, including diet and decaffeinated soda, can interfere with calcium absorption. Hence, it is better to avoid excess intake of soda drinks. An excess of soda beverages leads to an increase in phosphate levels in the blood. This in turn can leach calcium from your bones and increase calcium excretion in your urine. High phosphate levels also prevent calcium absorption.
Do not combine bran & beans with Calcium rich foods and meals
Both bran and beans are rich sources of natural proteins and B Vitamins, hence highly desirable and recommended for your daily nutrition. However, they also have phytic acid and oxalic acid that binds with calcium and hence can inhibit its absorption. The acids are also found in spinach, Swiss chard, beets, rhubarb, berries, beans, wheat bran, seeds and grains.
So, avoid combining your calcium rich foods and meals with the mentioned food ingredients to reduce wastage of ingested Calcium from food.
How MEDHYA can help?
At Medhya our focus is to fulfil nutritional and health needs of modern generation with natural foods! We leverage on traditional methodologies that have been tremendously successful since centuries, science backed resources for ingredient selection, and medicinal expertise of Ayurveda to develop synergy blends that are all wholesome and super nutritious in nature.
With Medhya ALMOND FIG BITES, one can not only get more than 20% of daily recommended CALCIUM but also enhanced absorption for our careful blending with MAGNESIUM rich foods. A super delicious bite with Almonds, Figs, and Sesame; Medhya ALMOND FIG BITES is a powerhouse of energy and nutrients. Stay tuned for updates and to grab your own box of nutrition!!