Foods Rich in Calcium

Updated on 3 October 2022

Foods Rich in Calcium

Calcium (Ca) plays an important role in maintaining bone health, including your teeth. Calcium also helps in maintaining the normal structure and function of heart muscles. Dairy products such as yoghurt, milk, and cheese are good sources of calcium, which primarily is needed to keep your bones healthy. In this article, we will discuss the top calcium-rich foods that are effective in treating calcium deficiency in your body.

Why You Need Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and supporting various bodily functions. It is well-known for its importance in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but its benefits go beyond skeletal health. Here are some compelling reasons why you need calcium:

  1. Bone Health: The primary and most well-known function of calcium is its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is a critical component of bone structure, providing strength and rigidity. Adequate calcium intake during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood is crucial for reaching peak bone mass, which can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
  2. Muscle Function: Calcium is involved in muscle contraction and relaxation. When a nerve stimulates a muscle, calcium is released, allowing the muscle fibers to contract. After the muscle contraction, calcium is pumped back into storage, leading to muscle relaxation. This process is essential for proper movement and function of the muscles, including the heart.
  3. Nerve Transmission: Calcium plays a crucial role in nerve transmission, allowing nerve cells to communicate effectively with each other and with other cells in the body. Proper nerve function is essential for coordination, sensory perception, and muscle control.
  4. Blood Clotting: Calcium is essential for the blood clotting process. When there is an injury or damage to blood vessels, calcium is released, initiating a series of reactions that lead to the formation of blood clots to stop bleeding. Without adequate calcium, blood clotting would be impaired, leading to excessive bleeding.
  5. Hormone Secretion: Calcium is involved in the secretion of various hormones, including insulin, which is essential for regulating blood sugar levels, and parathyroid hormone, which helps regulate calcium levels in the blood.
  6. Cellular Signaling: Calcium serves as a secondary messenger in many cellular signaling pathways, helping to transmit signals within cells and between cells. These signaling processes are vital for various cellular activities, including cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation.
  7. Blood Pressure Regulation: Some research suggests that calcium may play a role in regulating blood pressure. Adequate calcium intake, combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, may help support healthy blood pressure levels.

Foods Rich in Calcium

Calcium advantages in food: 

  • Seeds: Seeds such as celery, sesame, poppy, and chia seeds are very good sources of calcium. These seeds also offer healthy fats and proteins as well. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. Thus, eating seeds can help to increase the calcium levels in the body.

  • Cheese: Cheese is also an excellent source of calcium. Parmesan cheese is the best source of calcium in comparison to other cheeses. Our body can absorb calcium from dairy products easily as compared to plant sources. Dairy products have other health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease. Milk and yoghurt help in reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome.

  • Yoghurt: Yoghurt is considered to be the best source of calcium. Yoghurt is also high in probiotics that help to improve the function of the immune system. Yoghurt also helps in maintaining a healthy heart and in the proper absorption of nutrients in the body. Greek yoghurt is a wonderful source to get essential proteins as well.

  • Sardines and Canned Salmon: Salmon and Sardines are rich sources of calcium. These fish also provide high proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can help in improving heart function. These fish also provide nutrients that help to improve brain health and skin health.

  • Beans and Lentils: Beans are rich in calcium, proteins, fibre, and micronutrients such as iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and proteins.  Some beans are also rich sources of calcium. Therefore, eating lentils and beans regularly can help increase calcium in the body.

  • Almonds: Almonds have a high content of calcium and should be added to your daily diet. Almonds are also a rich source of fibre, proteins, and fats. These nuts are also a rich source of other nutrients such as vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. Eating nuts can help in regulating blood pressure while maintaining calcium levels.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are very high in calcium. If you want to enhance the calcium levels in the blood you must eat spinach, collard greens, and kale. Thus, eating green leafy vegetables not only provides vitamins and minerals but also helps in boosting the immune system.

  • Rhubarb: Rhubarb is an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. It also consists of fibre that helps in managing the function of the digestive system. Rhubarb is also rich in oxalates and helps in the quick absorption of calcium.

  • Figs: Dried figs consist of high fibre and antioxidants. They also consist of high amounts of calcium. Figs also provide other nutrients such as vitamin K and potassium. These nutrients help in making your bones strong and healthy.

  • Milk: Milk is considered one of the most important sources of calcium. Milk not only provides calcium but also provides Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Goat’s milk is a wonderful source of calcium.  Milk can be absorbed easily and the calcium present in the milk can also be easily absorbed by the body. 

How much calcium does our body need?

The amount of calcium our body needs depends on factors like age and life stage. 

  • Adults (18-50 years): About 1000 milligrams (mg) per day.
  • Women (51+ years) and Men (51-70 years): Around 1000-1200 mg per day.
  • Women (71+ years) and Men (71+ years): Approximately 1200 mg per day.

Calcium is crucial for maintaining strong bones, teeth, muscle function, nerve transmission, and blood clotting. It's found in various foods, including dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), leafy greens (kale, broccoli), nuts, seeds, and fortified plant-based milk alternatives. Adequate vitamin D intake is also important for proper calcium absorption.

Benefits of Calcium

Calcium is the most important mineral that makes your teeth and bones stronger. Our body has to work hard to maintain a normal calcium level in the body. If your blood has low levels of calcium and you do not eat foods rich in calcium then your bones will become weak. Thus, calcium is an important mineral needed for maintaining the good health of bones and teeth.

The principal function of vitamin D in calcium homeostasis is to increase calcium absorption from the intestine. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can't form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the "active vitamin D"). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet.

Osteoporosis is another condition that may result due to a deficiency of calcium in the body. It is a condition in which bones start losing calcium and the risk of fractures increases. Rickets is a disease that occurs in children due to a deficiency of calcium. It causes deformities of bones and there is delayed bone growth.

In conclusion, we have seen that a calcium-deficient person can face some severe complications. Therefore, it is wise to have the proper intake of calcium-rich food by adding them to your daily meals. You can also consult your doctor or dietician from the best hospital for dietetics & nutrition in Hyderabad for expert advice on calcium intake and avoiding its deficiency.





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