11 Tips to Prevent Calcium Deficiency

Prevent Calcium Deficiency
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Calcium is a vital mineral that your body uses for numerous processes including bone and joint health, stabilizing blood pressure and many others. What’s amazing about this mineral is that you can get recommended daily value through your diet alone. That said, it is not uncommon for people to experience calcium deficiency due to insufficient intake of the mineral. Calcium deficiency is indicated by muscle cramps, dry skin and brittle nails, tooth decay, insomnia, frequent fractures, depression, numbness and tingling in hands and feet. How to prevent calcium deficiency? Keep reading to find out!

1. Eat Cheese

Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, particularly parmesan with the highest content of this mineral. You’ll get 331mg of calcium per one ounce (28g) of parmesan cheese. That’s about 44% of recommended daily intake. Although eating cheese is a great way to prevent calcium deficiency, you should bear in mind that not every type is equal. Generally, hard cheeses have higher calcium content than softer options. For example, one ounce of brie only delivers 52mg calcium, which is 5% of recommended value. Generally, you should strive to consume more dairy products, because the body absorbs them more easily than calcium from plant sources.

2. Increase* Intake of Seeds

Seeds have numerous health benefits and provide a wide spectrum of nutrients including calcium. The richest sources of calcium from seeds family are poppy, chia, sesame, and celery. For example, one tablespoon (15g) of poppy seeds has 126mg calcium, which is 13% of recommended daily intake.

Calcium Intake

3. Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D promotes* absorption of calcium in the gut and maintains sufficient serum calcium and phosphate concentrations in a bid to enable normal mineralization of bone. The popular sunshine vitamin is present in cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, eggs, and mushrooms. You can also get this vitamin through supplements or by purchasing fermented products.

4. Reduce* Salt Intake

Excessive salt intake increases* blood pressure, contributes to water retention, and it also affects calcium levels in your body. One study discovered that when your body tries to get rid of sodium through urine, it also “flushes” calcium with it. These findings only confirm the importance of regulating salt intake. Nowadays, most people tend to consume more and more sodium, which means their bodies are getting rid of more calcium as well. Therefore, stay true to the moderate intake of salt.

5. Have Some Yogurt

Yogurt is an amazing source of calcium with one cup or 245g (plain yogurt) contains 30% of recommended daily intake of this mineral. You’ll be happy to know that low-fat yogurts contain even higher calcium content with 45% of recommended intake from one cup. While Greek yogurts are widely popular nowadays and they do provide high protein content, they contain lower levels of calcium compared to regular yogurts.

Some Yogurt

6. Eat More Sardines and Canned Salmon

Canned salmon and sardines are abundant in this mineral thanks to their edible bones. For instance, three ounces of canned salmon provide 21% of recommended daily value of calcium while a 3.75-ounce (92g) can of sardines delivers 35%. It is also important to bear in mind that the fatty fish is the best source of much-needed Omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your brain, heart, skin, and so on.

7. Quit Smoking

You are probably aware of the fact that smoking is one of the unhealthiest habits a person can have. Smokers have a higher risk of numerous diseases, but it turns out their calcium levels can be affected as well. A study from European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that smoking has a massive impact on Vitamin D and calcium metabolism and smokers have significant reductions in bone mineral density. Bear in mind that smoking is a habit and with a strong willpower, effort, and support from your friends, family, and healthcare provider, you can do it.

8. Consume More Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are healthy and they can also pose as a decent non-dairy source of calcium. Greens with high calcium content are kale, spinach, collard greens, lamb quarters. For example, one cup of cooked collard greens has 266mg of calcium, which is a quarter of recommended daily intake. Speaking of leafy greens and calcium, it is important to mention that some varieties like spinach are also high in oxalates, naturally occurring compounds that bind to calcium and make some of it unavailable to your body.

9. Give Fortified Foods a Try

Here’s yet another great way to obtain more calcium and prevent deficiency in this mineral. Nowadays, you can buy fortified foods that contain calcium and meet the recommended daily value easily. Some types of cereal deliver up to 1000mg per serving which is 100% daily calcium intake, and that’s before adding milk! But, you should keep in mind that your body is unable to absorb all that calcium at once. So, you should spread the intake throughout the day. Plus, you can also get fortified cornmeal and flour.

10. Drink Milk

It would be impossible to talk about different ways to prevent calcium deficiency and leave out milk, which is one of the richest and easiest-to-obtain sources of this mineral. One cup of cow’s milk has between 276mg and 352mg calcium, depending on whether it’s non-fat or whole milk. This means that you can get at least 28% daily value of calcium just by drinking a cup of cow’s milk. Plus, milk is a great source of Vitamin D and other important nutrients.

Drink Milk

11. Take Supplements

The best way to obtain calcium is through food, particularly from dairy products. As seen above, your body absorbs calcium more effectively from dairy, rather than plant-based sources. Dietary supplements that deliver this mineral pose as a practical way of meeting the recommended intake. Make sure you consult your doctor before purchasing these supplements, particularly if you’re taking medications or have a heart condition. Also, don’t increase* the dosage written on the label.

Related: Calcium for Bones – A Closer Look

Conclusion

While we can obtain enough calcium through diet, it is not uncommon for people to experience a deficiency in this mineral. Making certain lifestyle changes, increasing* consumption of calcium-rich foods are just some solutions to prevent calcium deficiency and its symptoms.

References:

  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10602348

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.