By Kerri-Ann Jennings
You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral and it's very important for health. It makes up much of your bones and teeth and plays a role in cardiovascular health, muscle function and nerve signaling.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most adults. It is also recommended that women over 50 and everyone over 70 get 1,200 mg per day, while children aged 4-18 are advised to get 1,300 mg.
However, a large percentage of the population does not get enough calcium from the diet (1).
The main foods rich in calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. However, many non-dairy sources are also high in this mineral. These include seafood, leafy greens, legumes, dried fruit, tofu and various foods that are fortified with calcium.
Here are 15 foods that are rich in calcium, many of which are non-dairy:
Seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses. Some of them are high in calcium, including poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds.
For instance, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of poppy seeds has 126 mg or 13 percent of the RDI (2).
Sesame seeds have 9 percent of the RDI for calcium in 1 tablespoon. They also have other minerals, including copper, iron and manganese (4).
Bottom Line: Several kinds of seeds are good sources of calcium. For instance, 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds has 13 percent of the RDI.
As an added bonus, the calcium in dairy products is more easily absorbed by your body than when it comes from plant sources.
Dairy may have additional health benefits as well. A recent study suggests dairy may lower the risk of heart disease (8).
Another study found that eating cheese daily was linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which raises your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes (9).
However, remember that full-fat cheese is also high in fat and calories. Most cheeses also have a lot of sodium, which some people are sensitive to.
Bottom Line: Parmesan cheese delivers 33 percent of the RDI of calcium. While high in fat and calories, cheese may actually lower your risk of heart disease.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium.
Many types of yogurt are also rich in live probiotic bacteria, which have various health benefits.
One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt contains 30 percent of the RDI. It also contains vitamin B2, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin B12 (10).
Low-fat yogurt may be even higher in calcium, with 45 percent of the RDI in one cup (11).
One study linked eating yogurt to better overall diet quality and improved metabolic health. Participants who ate yogurt had lower risks of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (13).
Bottom Line: Yogurt is one of the best sources of calcium, providing 30 percent of the RDI in one cup. It's also a good source of protein and other nutrients.
4. Sardines and Canned Salmon
Sardines and canned salmon are loaded with calcium, thanks to their edible bones.
While seafood can contain mercury, smaller fish such as sardines have low levels. Not only that, both sardines and salmon have high levels of selenium, a mineral that can prevent and reverse mercury toxicity (18).
Bottom Line: Sardines and canned salmon are super healthy choices. A can of sardines gives you 35 percent of the RDI for calcium.
5. Beans and Lentils
Some varieties also have decent amounts of calcium.
However, winged beans top the chart. A single cup of cooked wing beans has 244 mg or 24 percent of the RDI (19).
White beans are also a good source, with a cup of cooked white beans providing 13 percent of the RDI. Other varieties of beans and lentils have less, ranging from around 4–6 percent of the RDI per cup (20, 21, 22).
Interestingly, beans are credited with being one of the reasons that plant-rich diets are so healthy. Research suggests that beans may help lower LDL (the “bad") cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (23).
Bottom Line: Beans are highly nutritious and one cup of cooked wing beans delivers 24 percent of the RDI for calcium.
Almonds also provide 3 grams of fiber per ounce, as well as healthy fats and protein. They are an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and vitamin E.
Bottom Line: Almonds are high in nutrients like healthy fats, protein, magnesium and others. One ounce or 22 nuts, delivers 8 percent of the RDI for calcium.
7. Whey Protein
Whey protein is found in milk and has been extensively studied for its health benefits.
It's an excellent protein source and full of quickly digested amino acids (26).
Whey is also exceptionally rich in calcium. A 1-ounce (28-gram) scoop of whey protein powder isolate contains 200 mg or 20 percent of the RDI (27).
Bottom Line: Whey protein is an exceptionally healthy protein source. A scoop of whey protein powder has 20 percent of the RDI for calcium.
8. Some Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens are incredibly healthy and some of them are high in calcium.
For instance, one cup of cooked collard greens has 266 mg—a quarter of the amount you need in a day (28).
Note that some varieties are high in oxalates. These are naturally occurring compounds that bind to calcium, making some of it unavailable to your body.
Spinach is one of them. So although it has a lot of calcium, it's less available than the calcium in low-oxalate greens, such as kale and collard greens.
Bottom Line: Some dark, leafy greens are rich in calcium. One cup of cooked collard greens contain 25 percent of your daily needs.
Rhubarb has a lot of fiber, vitamin K, calcium and smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Like spinach, rhubarb is high in oxalates, so much of the calcium is not absorbed. One study found that only a quarter of it was absorbed from rhubarb (30).
On the other hand, the calcium numbers for rhubarb are quite high. So even if you're only absorbing a quarter of it, that's still 87 mg per cup of cooked rhubarb (31).
Bottom Line: Rhubarb has lots of fiber, vitamin K and other nutrients. The calcium may not be fully absorbed, but the numbers are still high.
10. Fortified Foods
Another way to obtain calcium is through fortified foods.
Some types of cereal can deliver up to 1,000 mg (100 percent of the RDI) per serving and that's before adding milk.
However, keep in mind that your body can't absorb all that calcium at once and it's best to spread your intake throughout the day (32).
Flour and cornmeal may also be fortified with calcium. This is why some breads, tortillas and crackers contain high amounts of it.
Bottom Line: Grain-based foods may be fortified with calcium. Read the label to find out how much is contained in fortified foods.
Amaranth is a pseudocereal that is super nutritious.
It's a good source of folate and very high in certain minerals, including manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and iron.
A cup of cooked amaranth grain delivers 116 mg of calcium or 12 percent of the RDI (33).
Amaranth leaves contain even more, at 28 percent of the RDI per cooked cup. The leaves also have very high amounts of vitamins A and C (34).
Bottom Line: The seeds and leaves of amaranth are very nutritious. A cup of cooked amaranth grain provides 12 percent of the RDI of calcium.
12. Edamame and Tofu
Edamame are soybeans in the pod.
One cup of edamame has 10 percent of the RDI of calcium. It's also a good source of protein and delivers all your daily folate in a single serving (35).
Bottom Line: Tofu and edamame are both rich in calcium. Just half a cup of tofu prepared with calcium has 86 percent of the RDI.
13. Fortified Drinks
Even if you don't drink milk, you can still get calcium from fortified non-dairy beverages.
A cup of fortified soy milk has 30 percent of the RDI.
Its 7 grams of protein make it the non-dairy milk that's most nutritionally similar to cow's milk (37).
Other kinds of nut- and seed-based milks may be fortified with even higher levels.
However, fortification isn't just for non-dairy milks. Orange juice can also be fortified, providing as much as 50 percent of the RDI per cup (38).
Bottom Line: Non-dairy milks and orange juice can be fortified with calcium. A cup of fortified orange juice can have 50 percent of the RDI.
Dried figs are rich in antioxidants and fiber.
Moreover, figs also provide decent amounts of potassium and vitamin K.
Bottom Line: Dried figs contain more calcium than other dried fruits. A single ounce has 5 percent of your daily needs for this mineral.
Milk is one of the best and cheapest calcium sources.
Additionally, milk is a good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Goat's milk is another excellent source of calcium, providing 327 mg per cup (42).
Bottom Line: Milk is a great source of well-absorbed calcium. A cup of milk provides between 27 percent and 35 percent of the RDI.
Take Home Message
Calcium is an important mineral that you may not be getting enough of.
While dairy products tend to be the highest in it, there are plenty of other good sources—many of which are plant-based.
You can easily meet your calcium needs by eating from this diverse list of foods.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
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Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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