How to get more calcium in your diet
When you think of calcium, dairy products probably come to mind first, however, there are many vegetables and fruits and calcium-fortified foods that can supply your calcium needs. The body needs calcium for strong bones, muscle and blood vessel contractions, hormones, enzymes and nerve functioning. Since you cannot manufacture calcium, it must be supplied in your diet or by supplementation. When your intake is inadequate, the body steals calcium from bones and teeth, leading to osteoporosis.
Not a milk drinker? Even if you don’t drink milk, you can add milk to cream soups, hot cereal, pancakes, mashed potatoes, puddings, and fruit smoothies. Yogurt or ice cream can also be used as a base for smoothies.
Top foods with cheese.
Salads, pasta, pizza, omelets, baked potato, enchiladas or tortillas, and soup are great sprinkled with low-fat, shredded cheese. Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses add between 130 and 180 mg of calcium per ounce of cheese. Put feta or goat cheese in your salad and gain about 140 mg. of cheese.
Plain yogurt or pureed cottage cheese with chives or chopped green onions makes a healthy and low fat vegetable dip or potato topping.
Enjoy calcium rich or fortified foods.
Tofu, canned salmon, sardines, rhubarb, almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts, sesame seeds, garbanzo, white and baked beans, apricots and oranges are all rich in calcium.
Calcium-fortified foods include: fortified bread, muffins and cereal, orange juice, corn or flour tortillas, soy milk and instant oatmeal.
Spinach, kale, turnip greens, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli all contain some calcium. By combining a serving of one of these vegetables with cheese, you can increase your intake. Not all green vegetables have beneficial levels of calcium. While beet greens and Swiss chard are high in calcium, they also contain oxalate which binds the calcium so that it cannot be absorbed in the body.