Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is responsible for bone growth, blood clotting, muscle functioning, and is crucial for healthy kidney function. Most people resort to dairy products to get their daily dose of calcium because that’s all they know. Calcium has been marketed to the masses via milk ads and other forms of dairy, but these dairy products could be crippling your health more than you know.
Humans are the only the only mammals that drink milk after they have been weaned. Cows, giraffes, and elephants don’t support their bones by drinking another animal’s milk, and they have a lot more bone mass to support than we do. Just throwing that out there to think about…
When you obtain your calcium from the plant world, you also get a boatload of other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, vitamins A & C, zinc, iron, and many others that help the body function optimally. Additionally, when you get your calcium from plant-based sources, you reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and breast and colon cancers.
The best part about all of the foods listed below is that they also contain vitamin D, which helps the body efficiently absorb and use calcium. In fact, the body can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D at all! Eat these foods to get both nutrients and more.
Did you know that 4 cups of kale has more calcium than a glass of milk? That really gives you some motivation to eat your greens. Kale is also rich in vitamin K, which helps support bone health.
Oranges are known for their vitamin C content, but that isn’t the only nutrient that they have. One navel orange contains 60mg of calcium and you can freshly squeeze them or eat them out of hand to obtain the calcium.
#3: Beet Greens
Most people throw away beet greens and solely use the beetroot. Stop throwing away the greens because they are packed with protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. Additionally, they are low in fat and can help lower cholesterol levels.
Almonds are a nutritious heart-healthy food. They are a great protein source that can help sustain you for long periods of time, and 1 serving contains 80mg of calcium. You can eat almonds to help lower blood pressure and keep you feeling full, which can reduce unhealthy cravings and snacking.
#5: Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is great for strengthening your bones because it helps the body absorb calcium. It also supports healthy bone structure and it can increase the density of the spinal column. Eating this winter squash can also help decrease your risk of osteoporosis.
Spinach is very rich in calcium, containing 245mg per cup. While boiling or sautéing spinach is a great way to consume this leafy green, you can reap more of its benefits by consuming it in the raw form. Blend spinach into a pesto with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pine nuts, or eat it in salads.
When it comes to cooking okra, a lot of people resort to frying it. This negates all of the health properties it has. Since it has 172mg of calcium per cup, it is best not to cook the nutrients out of it. You can roast it, boil it, grill it, or sauté it with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
#8: Blackstrap Molasses
Rather than using artificial sweeteners or lots of sugar, get your calcium on by using blackstrap molasses to sweeten teas or sauces. One tablespoon of this stuff has 137mg of calcium and it contains a lot of iron, so it is a great item to include in your diet.