MILK and dairy products are good sources of calcium, but what about people who can't consume these? No need to worry! You can also get calcium from non-dairy foods. Calcium is extremely important as it helps the body to build strong bones and ensures that your nerves, muscles and heart function well.
An eight-ounce glass of milk contains an average of 300 milligrams of calcium, according to the Mayo Clinic. How much calcium do you need per day? The minimum daily calcium requirement is 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day for women aged 50 and younger, and 1,200 mg for women over 50.
What other foods can you look to for calcium if you can't have milk, to ensure that you meet your required daily intake?
Kale is one green leafy vegetable which is rich in calcium. Nutrition experts say that it has approximately 250 milligrams of calcium per 100g, which is higher than the 110mg per 100g of calcium found in whole milk.
Other dark greens such as callaloo and broccoli are also very rich in calcium.
Did you know that the main source of calcium in fish comes from the bones? Sardines and other canned fish such as salmon have the most calcium. You can also get a good amount of calcium from shellfish as well.
They are also all rich in omega-3 and vitamin D.
Tofu is made by hardening soy milk. This food contains 680mg of calcium per 100g. It is also rich in magnesium and vitamin B.
Nuts and seeds
Walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds are good sources of calcium. There are also some seeds such as sesame seeds that are loaded with calcium too.
One cup of fortified soy milk contains almost the same amount of calcium as a cup of cow's milk. Soy milk is also rich in vitamin D and has less saturated fat than whole milk with lactose.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health — perhaps protecting against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. So if you're lactose intolerant, it's important to find other ways to add calcium as if you don't get enough, you could face health problems related to weak bones.