What You Need to Know About Calcium

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Calcium is important for the normal functioning of our bodies.  We all know by now that we need a certain amount of calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Athletes especially need more calcium than less-active people.  The more intense the exercise or sport the greater the body’s nutrient needs!

Calcium is also responsible for

  • muscle contractions including your heartbeat
  • normal blood clotting
  • supporting the structure and hardness of teeth and bones
  • releasing of hormones and enzymes
  • helping blood vessels move blood around the body.
  Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb and retain calcium in the bones. Many people are aware of the importance of calcium in their diet but are not getting enough.  Surprisingly dairy products are NOT the best source of calcium.  Calcium is best consumed from REAL food sources.  Many veggies, nuts, and seeds are a great source of calcium.   Athletes should make sure they get 1,200 to 1,500 mg of calcium daily. Use this chart as a guide to calcium rich foods.

Calcium content in Dairy and NON-Dairy Foods

*Calcium content of foods based on 3.5ounce portions

DAIRY

Cow’s milk
291 mg
Yogurt 252 mg
Human Breast Milk 33mg

NON-DAIRY

Sesame Seeds 1160mg
Sardines 371mg
Amaranth 267mg
Collard Greens 250 mg
Kale 234 mg
Almonds 234 mg
Parsley 203 mg
Dandelion Greens 187 mg
Salmon 167 mg
Chickpeas 150 mg
Sunflower Seeds 120 mg
Spinach 93mg
Broccoli 48mg
Cauliflower 42 mg
Brussel Sprouts 36mg
  Guest post from Susie Rahaim at Real Food Real Fitness. Susie is a holistic health and wellness coach, mom, athlete, pilates and yoga enthusiast, dancer, Syphus trainer, wellness junkie, and real food activist.

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