Most American diets are woefully deficient in the vitamins and nutrients essential to long-term health and wellness. Even I have friends who sometimes go an entire day without eating a single fruit or vegetable. Because of this, most people are able to drastically improve their health simply by adding a few servings of healthy fruits, veggies, or proteins to their daily diet.
But there are some nutrients you need to pay special attention to when you change your diet from “typical” to “healthy.” One of those is calcium.
Calcium is an essential nutrient. Your body cannot create it on its own, so you need to get your daily dose from the foods you eat.
Calcium deficiency can cause:
- Blood-clotting problems
The good news is that calcium deficiency is extremely rare, unless you have an identifiable medical condition. (Although it’s important to note that smoking and drinking soda ups your chances of suffering from a calcium deficiency. One more reason to cut them out!)
The bad news is that the most common and well-known source of calcium – dairy – is often pasteurized and processed, which is why I recommend that people trying to lose weight and be healthy avoid it entirely if at all possible.
So, how can you eliminate dairy and get an ample supply of calcium? Luckily, once we take dairy out of the spotlight, there are tons of delicious and healthy foods that are absolutely packed with calcium. Here are a few suggestions to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of calcium – without breaking out the cheese wheel.
- Breakfast: Go for an omelette! Broccoli and spinach, two of my favorite omelette ingredients, are jam-packed with calcium. You can also go for a bowl of oatmeal, another good source of the bone-friendly nutrient. Want more? Add an orange as a side dish. In addition to getting a heaping helping of Vitamin C, you’ll also grab about 60 mg of calcium.
- Lunch: Can you say “salad”? Spinach and arugula are both great sources of calcium. In fact, you can get up to 400 mg of calcium from your lunch salad, depending on how much you use. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds and you’re in even better shape. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, try white beans, which offer protein as well as calcium.
- Dinner: Dairy is totally unnecessary if you’re looking for a calcium-rich dinner. Salmon and trout are both excellent sources, as are sardines. Add a side of kale and you’re on track to one super-healthy, calcium-packed meal.
- Dessert and snacks: Put down that cheese plate! You don’t need to pack on the pounds to enjoy a savory snack or sweet dessert. Almonds and sunflower seeds are both fantastic sources of calcium that will tide you over between meals. Meanwhile, figs are rich in calcium and contain just enough sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth.