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There is a wide array of calcium-rich foods to choose from. One of the most common sources of calcium is from dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Dark greens, canned fish, soy products, and beans are other calcium-rich foods. There are also several foods that are fortified with calcium, such as cereals, fruit juices, and alternatives to milk such as rice and soy beverages.
Though dairy products can be a solid source of calcium-rich foods, they are also often high in fat and cholesterol. It is important to consume these foods in moderation and choose low- or non-fat options when possible. Milk can be used in lieu of water to increase the calcium content of foods such as soup and hot cereals.
For those who do not tolerate dairy products, there are several other kinds of calcium-rich foods to choose from. Dark, leafy greens such as collards, spinach, bok choy, and kale are all high in calcium. Broccoli is another good choice. The mineral can also be found in canned fish with bones such as sardines and salmon. Soybeans and products made with the beans such as tempeh, soy yogurt, and soy drinks can also be a strong source of calcium.
Many varieties of beans, seeds, and nuts are also calcium-rich foods. Almonds, cowpeas, baked beans, and white beans are all good sources of calcium. Sesame seeds are also rich in the mineral.
Several food products are also fortified with calcium. A product with at least 20% of the daily recommended amount of the mineral is generally considered to be have high calcium content. Though orange juice is the most common, many other kinds of juice have been fortified with the mineral. Several breakfast cereals, breads, snack bars, and other kinds of processed foods also contain added calcium. While these products can provide solid health benefits, the most calcium-rich foods contain the mineral naturally.
In order to reap the full benefits of calcium-rich foods, it is important to give the body the tools it needs to properly absorb the mineral. Getting sufficient vitamin D and consuming omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful. It is also advisable to drink carbonated beverages in moderation, as they can inhibit the absorption of calcium into the bones.
Consuming a diet with a good selection of calcium-rich food can provide strong health benefits. The most commonly known are the mineral’s bone-strengthening characteristics, which can help to ward off diseases such as osteoporosis. Calcium can also help to maintain healthy blood pressure.