Calcium rich vegetables for a bone building diet


Your body needs calcium rich vegetables to build strong bones, send nerve signals and contract muscles. There is a misconception that you need to consume meat or dairy to take in enough calcium, but this is not true.


Most people know that only milk and cheese is a good source of calcium, but many people are surprised by the fact that there are numerous dairy free foods that you can include into your diet to reach your daily recommended amount of calcium.


The problem with milk


The one problem with milk is that it is a very poor source of other minerals like: 

  • manganese
  • chromium
  • selenium
  • magnesium

Numerous research studies have revealed that magnesium works best alongside calcium.

We believe you can therefore safely ignore all the hype about milk as the best source of calcium and rather focus on including the items on our list of vegetable rich calcium foods as part of a well balanced diet.

One 2014 study in Sweden found that milk intake increases the risk of mortality and fractures in women and men.

This study discovered that women consuming more than 3 glasses of milk a day had almost twice the mortality over a 20 year period than women who consumed less than one glass a day.

Even worse, the study also found that the milk did not improved bone health, in fact, it increased the incidence of hip fractures.



The best calcium rich vegetables for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters looking for alternative calcium rich foods.


According the World's healthiest food rating system the following calcium rich vegetables are considered to be some of the best possible sources of calcium you can find.


Some dark, leafy greens are rich in calcium.Dark green leafy vegetables, like kale, broccoli, and bok choy, can absorb calcium about twice as well as the calcium in milk.



Food

% of daily value
(per cup)

Rating

Collard greens

27%

Excellent

Spinach

24%

Excellent

Turnip greens

20%

Excellent

Mustard greens

17%

Excellent

Beet greens

16%

Excellent

Bok choy

16%

Excellent

Swiss chard

10%

Very good

Kale

9%

Very good

Cabbage

6%

Good

Broccoli

6%

Good

Brussels sprouts

6%

Good

Green beans

6%

Good

Summer squash

5%

Good

Fennel

4%

Good

Asparagus

4%

Good

Celery

4%

Good

Leeks

3%

Good

Romain lettuce

3%

Good

The only fruit with significant calcium nutritional value is:

Oranges

5% for medium sized fruit

Good



How does dairy products stack up against vegetables as a source of calcium?

Food

% of daily value

Rating

Yoghurt

30% per cup

Very good

Cheese

20% from 1 ounce

Good

Cow's milk

20% from 4 ounces

Good



Reminder: Why do we need calcium rich foods?


You probably already know that the health benefits of calcium rich foods include the fact that it helps you maintain healthy and strong bones.

Many people don’t know that calcium is also plays an important role in many physiological activities not related to bones including the following:

  1. Calcium promotes a healthy heart by assisting muscle to contract and relax
  2. Clots blood
  3. Promotes healthy nerves
  4. Contracts muscles
  5. Improves skin, bone and teeth health
  6. Relieves aching muscles and bones
  7. Maintains the correct acid-alkaline balance
  8. Reduces menstrual cramps


Calcium nutrition facts

  • Your bones and teeth house 99% of the calcium in our bodies.
  • The remaining calcium in your body can be found in your muscles, nerves and blood.
  • Calcium rich foods are particularly necessary during childhood when bones are still growing.
  • In children, calcium deficiency can cause improper bone mineralization. This can result in bone deformities and growth retardation.
  • It is also important to add calcium rich foods to a diet for the elderly because of the fact that our ability to absorb calcium becomes impaired with age.
  • The body utilizes complex regulatory systems to tightly control the amount of calcium in our blood.
  • When our dietary intake of calcium is too low to maintain normal calcium blood levels, the body will draw on calcium stores in the bones to maintain normal blood concentrations. This can lead to osteoporosis. 


Calcium and vitamin D

Adequate levels of vitamin D improve the calcium balance of he body.

Calcium works synergistically with Vitamin D and as a result, vitamin D deficiency may also lead to a poor calcium status. 

Calcium and exercise

Research has indicated that exercise and specifically weight bearing workouts slows down possible calcium losses.

It is therefore a good idea for people with osteoporosis and similar bone-related diseases to perform these types of exercises.


What are the signs and symptoms of a calcium deficiency?

Symptoms of a calcium deficiency that can indicate a need for more calcium rich foods include the following:

  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Tooth decay
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent bone fractures


Severe calcium deficiency, along with other contributing factors like excessive protein consumption can result in osteoporosis.

The calcium balance in the body is negatively impacted by consumption of alcohol as well as coffee and tea.


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You may also be interested in our lists of:

Foods high in magnesium

High fiber foods

Iron rich foods

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