Calcium is a mineral that is found in the soil and is then absorbed into the roots of plants.

Why do we need calcium? 

  • To keep our teeth and bones healthy and strong (99% of calcium is in bones &teeth)
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve transmission
  • Normal heart rhythm
  • Wound healing
  • Calcium is stored in the skeleton and if the body needs calcium, it can draw on the reserves in the bones.

How much calcium do we need?

CALCIUM DEFICIENCY                               

not readily apparent

Signs & symptoms:    

  • muscle spasm or cramps                    
  • brittle nails                                                
  • fragile bones                                           
  • tooth decay                                               
  • numbness and tingling in hands

What is the link between vitamin D and calcium? 

  • Our bodies need vitamin D in order to use calcium. 
  • Vitamin D helps the calcium absorption from food. So, even if you consume enough calcium, it won’t be absorbed properly if you’re deficient in vitamin D.

‼️Intake should not exceed 2000 mg since excess calcium can cause kidney stones.

‼️AVOID calcium SUPPLEMENTS because they appear to increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease as well as prostate cancer. 

CALCIUM RICH FOODS 

  • kale, broccoli, bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens 
  • beans: 1 cup cooked chickpeas=80mg, 1 cup white beans 70mg 
  • 1 cup dried figs has 300mg
  • Nuts, e.g. 20 almonds=80mg, 2tbsp tahini=130mg, 1tbsp chia seeds=70mg 
  • 1 cup cooked oats=190mg
  • Although spinach and beet greens are high in calcium, they’re also high in oxalate, hence reduced calcium absorption!

CALCIUM RICH FOODS

  • kale, broccoli, bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens
  • beans: 1 cup cooked chickpeas=80mg, 1 cup white beans 70mg
  • 1 cup dried figs has 300mg
  • Nuts, e.g. 20 almonds=80mg, 2tbsp tahini=130mg, 1tbsp chia seeds=70mg
  • 1 cup cooked oats=190mg
  • Although spinach and beet greens are high in calcium, they’re also high in oxalate, hence reduced calcium absorption!

CALCIUM AND BONE HEALTH

To keep our bones healthy, our body needs more than calcium. Vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium are also factors affecting bone health. Furthermore, performing weight-bearing exercises and maintaining a healthy body weight are also important.

HEALTHY HIGH-CALCIUM RECIPES

OAT PORRIDGE  (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup dry oats
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 28 g mixed raw nuts
  1. In a saucepan add the oats and cinnamon with water and bring water to boil. 
  2. Next add plant milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer and cook for 3 min, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top with chopped banana, nuts and flaxseed before serving.

1 serving provides 250mg calcium.

OAT PORRIDGE  (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup dry oats
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 28 g mixed raw nuts
  1. In a saucepan add the oats and cinnamon with water and bring water to boil. 
  2. Next add plant milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer and cook for 3 min, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top with chopped banana, nuts and flaxseed before serving.

1 serving provides 250mg calcium.

KALE AND CHICKPEA CURRY (serves 2)

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 100g kale, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • a dash of black pepper
  1. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and spices over high heat in water for a few minutes until onions have softened slightly.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the tomato puree, stir and leave to cook for around 5 minutes.
  3. Next add the chickpeas and toss them around in the spices to coat, then pour in hot water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the kale a handful at a time, stir to cast and cover again.
  5. Cook for a further 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender.
  6. Serve with rice.

1 serving provides 260mg calcium.

KALE AND CHICKPEA CURRY (serves 2)

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 100g kale, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • a dash of black pepper
  1. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and spices over high heat in water for a few minutes until onions have softened slightly.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the tomato puree, stir and leave to cook for around 5 minutes.
  3. Next add the chickpeas and toss them around in the spices to coat, then pour in hot water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the kale a handful at a time, stir to cast and cover again.
  5. Cook for a further 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender.
  6. Serve with rice.

1 serving provides 260mg calcium.

EDAMAME & BUTTERBEAN SALAD (serves 2)

  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped in small dice
  • 1 can butterbean, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen edamame beans
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • a dash of black pepper
  1. Boil water in a saucepan. Add the edamame beans and boil them for 5 minutes. Drain the beans through a colander and let them cool. 
  2. Tip all the ingredients including the edamame beans into a bowl and mix well. 
  3. Cover until ready to serve.

1 serving provides 158mg calcium.

EDAMAME & BUTTERBEAN SALAD (serves 2)

  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped in small dice
  • 1 can butterbean, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen edamame beans
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • a dash of black pepper
  1. Boil water in a saucepan. Add the edamame beans and boil them for 5 minutes. Drain the beans through a colander and let them cool.
  2. Tip all the ingredients including the edamame beans into a bowl and mix well.
  3. Cover until ready to serve.

1 serving provides 158mg calcium.

GREEN SMOOTHIE (serves 1)

  • 1 cup kale (chopped)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients!

1 serving provides 317mg calcium.

GREEN SMOOTHIE (serves 1)

  • 1 cup kale (chopped)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients!

1 serving provides 317mg calcium.

Click here to download the factsheet on calcium in PDF format.

Not sure whether you’re getting all the essential nutrients? Join my 6-week “Eat for Health” programme to optimise your diet, boost your energy levels and live your best life.

Not sure whether you’re getting all the essential nutrients? Join my 6-week “Eat for Health” programme to optimise your diet, boost your energy levels and live your best life.