14 non-dairy foods that are high in calcium

broccoli correct size

Calcium builds healthy bones and teeth and ensures your muscles, cells, and nerves work properly. Adults need about 1,000 milligrams a day—that’s a little more than three 8-ounce glasses of milk—but what if you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just don’t like the taste of dairy products? Here’s a little-known fact: there are lots of non-dairy foods with calcium. Here are 14 of them.

Collard greens
Calcium content: 268 milligrams per 1 cup cooked
Plus: In addition to serving up more than a quarter of your daily calcium needs, this Southern favorite is also loaded with nearly three days worth of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps keep your eyes sharp as you age. Though collard greens are traditionally cooked with butter and fattening meats like bacon, they also taste great sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

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Broccoli
Calcium content: 86 milligrams in 2 cups raw
Plus: Believe it or not, in addition to calcium this cruciferous veggie contains nearly twice the vitamin C of an orange. Research also shows that diets high in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including colon and bladder cancer.

Broccoli rabe
Calcium content: 100 milligrams in one 2/3-cup serving
Plus: Broccoli rabe (pronounced “rob”) is the slightly more bitter cousin to broccoli. It provides more than half your daily value of immune-boosting vitamin C and about 3 grams of belly-filling protein. It’s also a great source of vitamin A.

Kale
Calcium content: 101 milligrams in 1 cup raw, chopped
Plus: This superfood has it all: it racks up just 30 calories per serving, provides a day’s worth of vitamin C, and twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, not to mention that 101 milligrams of calcium per serving. It also provides a hefty dose of vitamin K, a nutrient that helps your blood clot. Without it, you wouldn’t stop bleeding when you cut or bruise yourself.

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Edamame
Calcium content: 98 milligrams in 1 cup cooked
Plus: Edamame has been eaten in China and Japan for thousands of years, and it’s no wonder: it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Edamame—which are immature soybeans in the pod—is among the few non-animal foods that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. You also get 8 grams of fiber per serving.

Bok Choy
Calcium content: 74 milligrams per 1 cup shredded
Plus: A cup of bok choy—also known as Chinese cabbage—sets you back just 9 calories. It’s also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Bok choy cooks fast, making it perfect for stir-fries, and is available year-round.

Figs
Calcium content: 121 milligrams per 1/2 cup dried
Plus: Bite into a dried fig, and you’ll think you’re indulging in a super-sweet and sticky dessert, when in fact you’re chowing down on a fiber- and potassium-packed fruit. Figs also supply you with magnesium, a nutrient the body uses in more than 300 biomechanical reactions, such as maintaining muscle function, keeping your heart rhythm steady, and strengthening your bones.

Oranges
Calcium content: 74 milligrams in one large orange and 27 milligrams in a cup of orange juice
Plus: You know oranges for their immune-boosting vitamin C content, but they’re also low in calories and brimming with antioxidants.

Health.com: 12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange

Sardines
Calcium content: 351 milligrams in one 3.75-ounce can
Plus: Don’t be scared of sardines—these salty little fish add tons of umami flavor to salads and pastas. And they serve up even more than just calcium: they’re an amazing source of vitamin B-12, which is a key nutrient for brain and nervous system health. Sardines also contain vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and notoriously difficult to get through food.

Canned Salmon
Calcium content: 232 milligrams in half a can
Plus: If you can’t find environmentally friendly farmed salmon or simply can’t afford wild-caught salmon (which can cost twice as much), try canned salmon. Half a can provides 44% your daily calcium needs, as well as a whopping 38 grams of belly-flattening protein.

White Beans
Calcium content: 63 milligrams in 1/2 cup cooked
Plus: These meaty little guys are rich in fiber, protein, and iron, and they’re also one of the best nutritional sources of potassium. Additionally, they contain resistant starch, a healthy carb that boost metabolism.

Okra
Calcium content: 82 milligrams in 1 cup
Plus: Okra contains constipation-fighting insoluble fiber, as well as vitamin B6 and folate. And don’t write off this veggie if you’ve only ever had a boiled, slimy version; oven-roasting, sautéing, or grilling bring out the best flavor.

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Tofu
Calcium content: 434 milligrams per half cup
Plus: You know tofu as a vegetarian source of protein. Turns out it’s also a great source of calcium. Tofu is incredibly versatile—it takes on the flavor of whatever else you’re cooking with it.

Almonds
Calcium content: 75 milligrams per ounce (about 23 whole almonds)
Plus: Almonds, which are among the best nuts for your health, contain about 12% of your necessary daily protein, and are rich in vitamin E and potassium. And although they are fattening, it’s the good kind of fat that helps lower your bad cholesterol levels as long as you enjoy them in moderation.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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10 Nutrients Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Awesome

10 Nutrients Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Awesome

Want some pep in your step? Perhaps a dash of good cheer? (Who doesn’t, right?). Look no further than the grocery store’s shelves. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are not only super healthy, but can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety [1] [2].

10 Foods Scientifically-Proven to Make You Happier

How can foods improve our moods? It all comes down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function [3]. To date, researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain and identified nine nutrients that can combat depression and boost our mood: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc [4] [5]. Try one of these foods for a mid-day pick-me-up, to promote long-term happiness, or to ward off the nagging worry that you forgot to lock the front door (You did remember, right?).

 A bit about the units used below: Mg (milligram) is the typical unit of measurement for nutrients and 1,000 mg equals 1 gram. Mcg is the abbreviation of  microgram and 1,000 mcg equals 1 mg. 

1. Calcium

Calcium

 The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels, and in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Low levels of calcium may play a role in PMS-related depression in particular [6] (Sorry guys, we couldn’t find data on whether calcium can also regulate male fluctuations in mood). Calcium deficiency affects more women than men, so women should take special care to meet the daily requirements [7].

How eating it helps: Found in a variety of sources (non-dairy included), calcium is often paired with vitamin D to help regulate mood fluctuations attributed to PMS [6]. Since estrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS-related depression [9].

RDA: 1,000 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of Calcium:

2. Chromium

 A trace mineral found in small amounts in the body, chromium helps the body metabolize food [10]. A lack of chromium hurts the body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may lead to diabetes-related complications like vision loss and high blood pressure [11].

How eating it helps: Chromium plays an important role in increasing the brains’ level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood [12]. Because chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an effective treatment of depression [12].

RDA: 25 mcg per day for women; 35 mcg per day for men

Food Sources of Chromium:

  • Broccoli (1/2 cup): 11 mcg
  • Grape juice (1 cup): 8 mcg
  • Whole-wheat English muffin (1 piece): 4 mcg
  • Potatoes (mashed) (1 cup): 3 mcg
  • Turkey breast (1/3 cup): 2 mcg
3. Folate

 Folate (alternatively known as B9 or folic acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin passes messages between nerve cells and helps the brain manage a variety of functions, from determining mood to regulating social behavior. Folate deficiency can cause fatigue in addition to lowering levels of serotonin [14].

How eating it helps: A pair of power nutrients, Folate and B12 are often paired together to treat depression [15]. By itself, Folate has the added benefit of boosting the efficiency of antidepressants [16].

RDA: 400 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of Folate:

4. Iron

 Iron plays an important role in the body, from transporting oxygen to supporting energy levels and aiding muscle strength. Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression [17]. Iron deficiency appears more frequently in women than men, especially women of childbearing age [5].

How eating helps: Consuming enough iron will help prevent iron anemia (not enough iron), a condition that commonly affects women more than men. Keeping enough iron in the body is important, as the fatigue, apathy, and mood change associated with the iron deficiency can often lead to depression [4].

RDA: 18 mg per day for women; 8 mg per day for men

Food Sources of Iron: 

5. Magnesium

 Magnesium is a mineral that plays over 300 roles in maintaining and protecting the body’s health. Deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, mental confusion, and predisposition to stress.

How eating it helps: Magnesium plays a large role in the development of serotonin, which is a major contributor to feelings of happiness [20]. Due to its ability to help regulate emotions, it’s a common element in homeopathic remedies for balancing mood [21].

RDA: 310 mg per day for women; 400 mg per day for men

Food Sources of Magnesium:

6. Omega-3s

 Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain health and contributes up to 18 percent of the brain’s weight [22].The body does not naturally produce Omega-3s, so the fatty acid needs to be consumed from outside sources. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression.

How eating it helps: Studies show a correlation between consumption of fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and a decreased risk of depression and suicide [23]. Whether eating fish or snacking on chia seeds, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids may help combat depression [24].

RDA: There is no established RDA for Omega-3s, but the American Heart Association suggests eating a variety of fish (trout, herring, and salmon) at least twice a week. For vegetarians, there are also plenty of non-meat sources of Omega-3s (see below for a few suggestions).

Food Sources of Omega-3:

7. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps the production of neurotransmitters (which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body). Deficiency in B6 can cause short-term anemia; long-term effects include a weakened immune system, confusion, and depression.

How eating it helps: Consuming vitamin B6 is essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions [25]. In addition to regulating healthy moods, Vitamin B6 is also an effective method for treating premenstrual depression [26].

RDA: 1.3 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of B6:

8. Vitamin B12

B12  is an essential element that aids in the creation of red blood cells and nerves. Low levels of B12 can cause short-term fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia, and are associated with depression [15]. Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in meats, eggs, and animal byproducts, meaning vegetarians and vegans have an increased risk of developing a deficiency.

How eating it helps: Because moods depend largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating depression — consuming enough vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesize a group of nutrients critical for normal neurological function [28].

RDA: 2.4 mcg per day for adults

Food Sources of B12:

9. Vitamin D

 Vitamin D helps regulate cell growth, plays an important role in maintaining the immune system, and (when paired with calcium) protects bones. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depressive symptoms in both men and women [29] [30]. Most often, lowered levels of Vitamin D are the result of indoor lifestyles, limited sun exposure, and inadequate intake of vitamin-D-rich foods.

How eating it helps: If you’re feeling blue, increasing vitamin D could help ward off depression.  Consuming the mood-regulating vitamin is important, especially during the wintertime when light from the sun (a natural producer of vitamin D) is limited [31].

RDA: 600 IU per day for adults ages 15 to 60

IU (International Unit) is a type of measurement typically reserved for Vitamin A, C, D and E. 40 IU’s of Vitamin D will equal 1 mcg— so Cod liver oil will have 1,360 IU or 34 mcg of Vitamin D.

Food Sources of Vitamin D:

10. Zinc

 Zinc is found in almost every cell and plays an important role in supporting a healthy immune system and helping the body protect the gut from damage [32]. Low levels of zinc in the diet can lead to a variety of ailments, including a weakened immune system, loss of appetite, anemia, hair loss, and depression. Vegetarians need as much as 50 percent more zinc than non-vegetarians due to the body’s lower absorption rate of plant-based zinc [5].

How eating it helps: Studies have identified zinc as an important factor in decreasing depressive symptoms, as the vitamin can improve the response of antidepressants while reducing the side effects of anti-depression medication [34]. A lack of zinc can trigger depressive behaviors, so load up on zinc-rich foods to balance your mood. [35].

RDA:  11mg per day for men; 8mg per day for women

Food Sources of Zinc:

What foods do you eat for maximum happiness? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us on Facebook!

About the Author

Maya Dangerfield

I’m a recovering teacher and editorial intern for Greatist.com. I love mixed martial arts, soccer, scuba diving, and any challenging physical…

Calcium-Rich Diet May Reduce Female Mortality

Calcium-Rich Diet May Reduce Female Mortality

A calcium-rich diet, whether from supplements or high-calcium foods, may increase lifespans for women, according to a study. Researchers from McGill University in Canada analyzed data from a large-scale study called the Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). The researchers monitored the health of 9,033 men and women between 1996 and 2007 and then analyzed whether calcium supplements had any beneficial effects on their health. The results suggest that women who take calcium supplement doses of up to 1,000 mg per day may live longer, compared with women who do not take the supplements.

calcium3

David Goltzman of McGill University and the study’s lead author, explains, “Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women. The benefit was seen for women who took doses of up to 1,000 mg per day, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D.”

The researchers say although the results showed that women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality risk, the same was not seen in men. Other research this year, from the National Institutes of Health, found that men who take calcium supplements are more likely to die of heart disease than men who do not take the supplements. In women, high amounts of calcium in the present study were linked to longer lifespans, regardless of whether the source came from supplements or calcium-rich food. “The same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements,” adds Goltzman.

calcium-source

It is a well-known fact that the body needs a good level of calcium to build and maintain strong bones. The minimum recommended dietary allowance of calcium for men and women up to 50 years of age is 1,000 mg per day. For women aged 51 and over, and men aged 71 and over, this increases to 1,200 mg a day.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lack of calcium in children means they may not reach their full potential adult height, while adults may have low bone mass—a risk for osteoporosis. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating the following foods in order to get a rich source of calcium:

  • Dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale
  • Fish with edible soft bones, such as sardines and canned salmon
  • Calcium-fortified foods and beverages, such as soy products, cereal and fruit juices. 

Not all research on women’s use of calcium supplements is positive. A BMJ study from the University of Auckland in 2011 revealed that calcium supplements often prescribed to postmenopausal women appeared to raise the risk of cardiovascular events, especially heart attacks in older females.

calcium

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, November 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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