Calcium is an essential mineral that is responsible for maintaining healthy teeth and bones. About 99% of calcium is stored in the bones and teeth, whereas the rest is required for muscle function, secretion of hormones, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling, etc. The body's requirements for calcium can be met by including the sources of calcium in one's diet. According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of calcium for adults is 1,000 mg.
In case of aging adults, especially menopausal women, the rate of bone resorption is higher than bone formation. This makes women susceptible to osteoporosis. Due to this reason, menopausal women are asked to take calcium-rich foods or calcium supplements. The RDA for calcium for women above the age of 50 years is 1,200 mg. In order to meet RDA for calcium, one must incorporate natural sources of calcium, which includes dairy-based products, fruits, and vegetables. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, and fish such as sardines and salmon are good sources of calcium. Also, cereals, juices, or other foods that are fortified with calcium can be consumed.
List of Calcium-rich Vegetables
The following sections provide a list of vegetables that are rich in this mineral.
A ½ cup serving of cooked turnip greens yields about 200 mg of calcium. It also provides folate, dietary fiber, copper, and potassium. You can add slices of turnip and chopped turnip greens in mixed vegetable salads.
Cabbage and others vegetables belonging to the Brassicaceae family lead the list of high-calcium foods. A ½ cup serving of cabbage provides about 190 mg of calcium.
Broccoli is another healthy vegetable that is loaded with vitamins, calcium, selenium, and dietary fiber. The amount of calcium in a ½ cup serving of broccoli is 33 mg. Purchase fresh spears and cook for the right time to reap health benefits of broccoli.
Consuming ½ cup of cooked kale yields 100 mg of calcium. Kale is also a good source of proteins, vitamins, magnesium, and iron. Steamed kale also helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
Consumed in raw or boiled form, bok choy has a high calcium content. A ½ cup serving of raw shredded bok choy provides 37 mg calcium, whereas a ½ cup serving of boiled bok choy provides 79 mg of calcium.
In order to preserve the nutritional value of spinach, it is advisable to have boiled or steamed spinach. Don't overcook it. Half cup of cooked spinach provides 125 mg calcium. However, the absorption of calcium is lesser due to high oxalate levels.
A ½ cup serving of raw dandelion greens provides 52 mg of calcium, whereas a ½ cup serving of boiled dandelion greens provides about 74 mg of calcium. Dandelion greens are also a good source of folate, dietary fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Carrots are a rich source of beta carotene and calcium. 1 cup of fresh carrot juice provides 57 mg of calcium.
Consuming ½ cup of boiled collard greens provides 133 mg of calcium. In order to stay healthy, consume 1-1½ cups of collard greens 2-3 times per week.
This green leafy vegetable is low in calories, and is a good source of vitamin C, B complex vitamins, beta carotene, and minerals. Also, ½ cup serving of boiled swiss chard provides 51 mg calcium.
A raw artichoke provides 56 mg calcium, whereas a boiled artichoke provides 54 mg of calcium.
Celery is a rich source of lutein, potassium, and calcium. 1 cup of raw celery yields 41 mg of calcium. To reap maximum benefits, consume it in its raw form.
Kelp is loaded with several nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids, dietary fiber, calcium, etc. ½ cup of kelp provides 68 mg of calcium. Including kelp in the diet also reduces the risk of high cholesterol and hypothyroidism.
Okra, lettuce, sweet onion, pea, green pepper, rutabagas, pumpkin, scallions, soybeans, sweet potato, wasabi, watercress, and beet greens are also good sources of calcium
Besides the aforementioned vegetables, it's advisable to include calcium-rich fruits
such as orange, papaya, watermelon, etc., to your diet. In case of a severe calcium deficiency, it's advisable to take calcium supplements.
: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a nutritionist/medical expert.