There is more to bone health than just eating calcium rich foods or taking calcium supplements. Some foods help with the absorption of calcium and some foods interfere with calcium absorption.
We are all aware that dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are great sources of calcium. Did you know that there are other foods that have calcium and help with calcium absorption in your body?
Foods high in Calcium
Dark, leafy greens are packed full of nutrients and calcium. These greens include: bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens, which are great sources of calcium, they also have potassium that helps your bones and decreases your risk of osteoporosis. Citrus fruits are really good sources of vitamin C which has been proven to help against bone loss. Sweet potatoes are also helpful for your bones, in that they are high in magnesium and potassium, which help with bone health and calcium absorption. Fatty fish, such as salmon, offers so much more than just protein. This includes vitamin d, which helps your body use the calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which also helps bones. Almonds and almond butter are also a good source of not only calcium, but potassium and protein; all of which are needed for strong, healthy bones.
Other foods that are helpful for calcium intake are plant based milks, prunes, and molasses. Plant based milks, such as almond, coconut, and soy usually have as much calcium and vitamins are regular milk. Prunes help your body slow the breakdown of bone density. Molasses has a high amount of calcium compared to sugar or honey. You can top your yogurt with it or mix it into a smoothie, just to name a few things.
Foods Low in Calcium
With as many foods that are good for calcium intake, there are some foods that do not help. Foods that are high in phytates interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Beans, legumes, and wheat bran are all high in phytates. With beans and legumes, you can soak them and reduce the amount of phytates in them and make sure to cook them in fresh water.
Your body does not absorb calcium from food high in oxalates or oxalic acid. Although these foods are healthy, they should not be considered for your calcium intake. These foods include: spinach, rhubarb, beet greens, and certain types of beans.
Some other things to stay away from if you are needing more calcium is high salt intake, high protein diets, heavy alcohol use, too much caffeine, and too much coffee. All of these things can lead to bone loss. Try to keep your sodium intake to 2300 mg a day or less, no more than 3 cups of coffee a day, and limit your alcohol and other caffeine intake.
This Healthy Bones Guide is a great tool for more information.
Slideshow: Super Foods for your Bones. webmd.com (2022, February 22) Retrieved May 6, 2022, from “https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/ss/slideshow-superfoods-for-your-bones”
Food and Your Bones: Osteoporosis Nutrition Guidelines. www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org (2022) Retrieved May 6, 2022, from “https://www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/“