By golly it’s March! With all this blizzard madness we’ve been having I guess the time just flew by at a painstakingly snails pace.
But it’s not just any old month. It’s NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!
So make sure you buy your local RD a green juice, kale chips, or a six pack at some point.
And to kick off this nutrient-dense month, let’s start with another riveting round of Did You Know Friday!
No idea what I’m talking about? Find out here!
Pop Quiz! When I say calcium you say…
Ever since I was a wee babe, it seems like dairy was the only way to get calcium and build strong bones. Drink your milk. 3 times a day. Every day.
What if I told you broccoli was the new cheddar?
Before you look at me that way, let’s talk about this mighty mineral a bit first.
Why do I need calcium?
Besides building strong bones & teeth, calcium is used for many more things in the body, such as
-Blood clotting (think about getting a cut, and how the body helps self heal)
-Muscle contractions (not just your biceps, but your heart too!)
-Hormone release (the keys to almost every body function)
How much do I need?
Now the exact number varies by gender and age, but overall adults ages 19-50 should aim for 1,000 mg / day.
Before you just pop a pill and call it done, the body can only absorb as much as 500 mg at a time, which is why it’s always best to get it from food! This helps get the most nutrient bang for your buck, and make sure your body is actually using what you put in.
What if I don’t do dairy?
Whether it’s an intolerance, allergy, or just a preference, cutting out dairy doesn’t have to mean your bones will be toothpicks by the time your 60. There are PLENTY of other sources of calcium out there, and I’m sharing 10 of my favs! Here’s 10 dairy-free sources of calcium you can eat to get your 1000 mg a day.
Broccoli 42 mg per cup
The king of cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is not only full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, but calcium too! Eat it raw or lightly cooked to get the highest amounts of nutrients in your body, instead of leaving it behind in the cooking liquid.
Sesame Seeds 88 mg per tablespoon
Because of their hard exterior, the body has a tougher time getting all the nutrients these powerful seeds contain. Try using tahini, a key ingredient in most hummus recipes, or using it as a spread like peanut butter.
Canned Salmon 203 mg per 3 ounce serving
We all know how much I love canned salmon after the umpteenth time I’ve made salmon burgers. They key here is to use the kind with the bone-in. Now this may seem gross, but I promise you will not even notice them since they’re so small and easily break down once you start mixing. Plus it is super cheap. I think I pay $2.99 for a 15 ounce can of wild Alaskan salmon. Much cheaper than a fresh filet!
I also suggest leaving the skin on as well since it is a rich source of more of those omega-3’s we all know and know we should love. Canned salmon is just a humble rock star.
Leafy Greens 30-80 mg per cup
Eat yo greens!! Add calcium to the list of super star ingredients these chumps have. Collard greens are the reigning champ with about 80 mg per cup! Swap out your typical wrap for a giant collard leaf, or try my Thai tofu collard wrap for even more calcium.
Other greens include kale and bok choy, which both contain significant amounts of calcium. But what about spinach?!
While spinach DOES contain a great amount of calcium, most of it is not absorbed since it also contains oxalates that bind to calcium. You should still eat spinach for all it’s other wonderful benefits, but stick to the collards for calcium.
White Beans 191 mg per cup
From greens to beans. White beans in particular contain higher levels of calcium. Must be the reminiscent dairy-white color. 😉
Try swapping out chickpeas for white beans for some homemade hummus. (don’t forget the tahini!) White beans have such a creamy texture, you may even like it better!
Tofu 253 mg per 4 ounce serving
There’s that wrap I’ve been talking about! Yes, tofu and a lot of other soy-based products such as soy milk contain added calcium. While it is not naturally found, tofu can be a great source of food-based calcium, especially for vegans or vegetarians.
Oranges 74 mg per orange
Almonds 76 mg per ounce (about 20 almonds)
And another one goes to almonds! Besides it’s fiber, protein, and healthy fats, almonds also contain a good dose of calcium as well. Try them in whole form, almond butter, or even almond milk for some bone and heart building health.
Seaweed 30 mg per 1/4 cup
Because you really needed another reason to eat sushi. Seaweed, especially wakame, which is often found in miso soup is especially high in calcium. Seaweed is also a gret source of omega 3’s and loads of b vitamins.
Dried Figs 14 mg per fig
Fig newtons a health food?! ..Okay not exactly, but figs themselves are packed full of calcium. Pair them with some roasted almonds, or a slathering of almond butter for a midday calcium-rich snack or dessert.
Sardines 351 mg per 3 ounce serving
Just like it’s canned friend salmon, sardines are also another home run of calcium. Eating the whole fish, skin, bones, and all gives you so many of the nutrients your body needs and craves.
The bad part? They are pretty potent. Opening a can of these will clear a room while also filling it with every alley cat this side of Cleveland. It’s an acquired taste, but if you can come to love them, you’re body will thank you.
So go get your calcium on and eat it too! Then head on down below, share your nutrition news, and leave some love!
Make it a great day!
What source of calcium surprised you?
What can I expect as a gift in the mail from you this month? (PS I prefer crunchy pb and red wine)