Milk and calcium go hand in hand. It’s what we’re taught from a young age. Like many things we learn when we’re young, what we learned about milk isn’t entirely true. Don’t get me wrong, milk is a terrific source of calcium, but there are many other great sources of calcium found in other foods that you might be missing out on.
First let’s talk a little bit about what calcium does. Sure it helps keep your bones and teeth strong. But it’s also valuable in regulating blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood cells and even helping produce insulin, the important hormone that helps regulate blood sugar and prevent diabetes.
Calcium is essential to any human diet, but most of us don’t get enough.
An adult should consume about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. That’s one glass of skim milk, one slice of cheddar cheese or one cup of vanilla yogurt. Most people don’t make that mark. A lot of it, I think, has to do with not understanding that calcium can be found in so many other foods, from seafood to leafy greens.
There’s no excuse not to be getting enough calcium each day. Here’s a list of five great foods jam-packed with calcium:
1. White Beans
Packing 191 mg in 1 can, white beans are a great legume to add to your diet. They’re great served cold in a salad, or added to a pasta dish with veggies. Put a twist on your hummus: Take out your chickpeas and white beans. Not only are white beans a good source of calcium, they’re also a solid source of iron.
How many food lists can Kale show up on? As long as I’m writing, every single one. But seriously, kale deserves all the good rep it has. It packs more nutrients per calorie than almost any other food. Speaking of nutrients per calorie, kale even has milk beat in that department, with 188 mg of calcium for every 2 cups! Incredible. Try a kale salad with apricots and avocado. It’s perfect for the springtime season.
3. Canned Salmon
It’s all in the bones. That’s what you need to remember when you’re dealing with Canned Salmon. The Salmon meat itself is fine but most of the calcium goodness, 232 mgs worth, is in the bones. For those who haven’t had canned salmon before, don’t be intimidated. The bones are softened by the canning process and are easy to swallow and digest. Canned Salmon is a great source of calcium on the cheap.
4. Black-eyed Peas
Not talking about Will.I.Am’s Black Eyed Peas, but these beans are good too, at least when we’re talking about calcium. Not only does 1/2 a cup of black eyed peas have 185 mg of calcium, it also packs potassium and folate. Black eyed peas are a great side with many southern dishes like gumbo or fried chicken.
Orange juice is fortified with calcium, but orange fruit itself is a good source of calcium on its own at 65 mg for a medium-sized orange. Next time you eat an orange, don’t just think Vitamin C, think Calcium.