Nutrition Fact Friday: Calcium

Hey ya’ll! Friday is the best day because that means it is Nutrition Fact Friday. Every Friday of the week, I will be providing ya’ll with a mini nutrition education lesson on a nutrient, food, or something nutrition related. This week I have a special guest who goes by the name of Calcium. Calcium is considered to be the most abundant mineral in the body. It is found in some foods, added to others, and it can be in some medicines. This mighty mineral is needed for a variety of things to function in your body. Some things calcium impacts are vasodilation, muscle contraction, and hormone secretion. Calcium, in the average person’s mind, is considered to be a bone mineral. They are right in some ways because 99% of calcium is stored in the bone, but there are so many functions of calcium! One of the most common problems in society is that most people assume calcium is found in milk, so they push milk consumption like crazy. However this is not completely true! Calcium is found in a ton of options, so lets check them out:

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Since calcium is found in so many foods, you can plan your diet around many options in order to get your daily intake amount in. This is especially important to notice if you are vegan or lactose intolerant because you don’t consume milk in those populations, so having many options like different vegetables allows every population to not be calcium deficient. Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, can be a huge problem since calcium regulates many things such as blood pressure and it helps construct bones. Side effects that occur when there isn’t enough calcium in the body are osteoporosis, eye damage, and abnormal heartbeats. Therefore it is extremely important to consume calcium regularly in the diet.

The recommended intake for individuals, male or female, from ages 19-50 is 1000 mg. This is a pretty good number to try to reach every day. For individuals that are younger the requirement is usually less than 1000 until children reach the age of development, which is 9-18 years old and they consume around 1300 mg. The same is true for the population as it ages because there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. There is no maximum amount of calcium to limit yourself to because no adverse effects have been seen. It is important though to mix up your sources of calcium because when you consume things such as spinach, collard greens, and oranges you are giving your body other vital nutrients and minerals that are needed for the daily intake. One of the key things of living a nutritious and healthy life is following variety!

Now for the fun part of the nutrition fact Friday. The recipe ideas to help you consume more calcium. Each week on Friday, I will round up some of my favorite recipes that utilize a major source of that week’s topic in them. So this week it is all about those delicious calcium recipes!

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What a good way to get a good amount of calcium then by consuming more than one source in one sitting! This amazing recipe from Simply Life uses tofu and broccoli to create a stunning Chinese inspired dish. For one thing, it is sesame tofu, which maybe one of my favorite dishes to order at a Chinese restaurant (specifically Rice Bowl in Austin, currently having a drool sesh right now as I write this post). This recipe is incredibly easy to follow, it contains tons of healthy ingredients, and it is packed full of awesome flavors. This probably contains around 446 mg of calcium in it. That is a pretty great amount. The more broccoli you put in the dish, the more the calcium level will increase. A great idea would be to include some bok choy too. That way you are getting a large amount of fiber with your calcium, so you will feel fuller for a longer period of time.

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Another great recipe to get in your calcium requirements is seen on the Preppy Paleo. This recipe is for Maple Almond Salmon. Once again the recipe is using two sources of calcium, which is amazing. Coating fish in a crust is a good way for people that don’t eat a lot of fish or particularly like the texture of fish to enjoy it. I love almonds and salmon, so I will definitely have to try this one out. This recipe has a little lower average value of calcium, which would be around 250 mg for a serving. However you could definitely increase your amount by adding a side of broccoli to the dinner or a nice plate of collard greens, which pack in a total of 357 mg of calcium (wow, those Southerners sure now how to get that calcium in their diet).

Calcium is really easy to consume throughout the day as long as you are having balanced meals. One of the easiest ways to get a dose in with breakfast is to consume dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, or milk. However for those who don’t want to go the dairy path, focus on having an orange or a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. Other options include a vegetable omelet with spinach. Snacks are easy to because you can just grab an orange or a handful of nuts to take along with you.

Keep those bones and teeth strong and the heart pumping! Don’t forget to get your calcium in daily. A healthy reminder is that consuming calcium chews or multivitamins does not help you reach your daily value. When you consume those, they tend to go out of your body immediately through your urine. That means that you need to eat fresh foods daily in order to consistently reach your daily requirements!

What is your favorite source of calcium?
Do you have any good calcium rich recipes?

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