Sources of Calcium in food on a Weight-Loss Diet

Low Carb diets are rich in Calcium but Low Fat diets need a little more attention so know your food sources. 

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body (1.5%-2% of a healthy weight). 99% of calcium is found in our bones  ( calcium phosphate) and teeth and 1% in our fluids.  We get calcium from the food we eat from the soil and the water we drink. Cows, goats and sheep produce milk rich in  calcium from which we make cheese , yogurts and foods known as dairy products.

Have a look below and note what foods you are currently eating. Are they any foods you can introduce from today to your diet?

How much do we need?Adults need between 800mg-1200mg per day

Food Sources of calcium Calcium mg  
Dairy – All Milk (100ml – 2 eggcups full) – whole, low-fat, skimmed 120mg
Dairy – Yoghurt – 2 heaped cereal spoon full – 60g 76mg – 100mg
Dairy – Cheese 100g(cream cheese has the least and parmesan has the most calcium) Cheese is very high in fat – saturated fat – and high in calories (100g = 400 calories) 80mg – 1025mg
Figs – 3 dried figs (45g) …Currents, sultanas, raisins – 20g

Apricots – 3 dried 15g – ready to eat

Blackcurrents,  redcurrents

Orange 100g

Stewed rhubard 100g – 3 ribs

72mg  -103mg

15mg – 20mg

32mg –  41mg

60mg – 40mg

47mg

35mg

Olives, in brine – 10 small olives 10mg
Curly kale – 2 to 3 handfuls 100 – 150mg
Broccoli – 100g 10 florets (boiled – raw)

Cabbage –100g ( raw in slaw or boiled)

40 – 58mg

30 – 60mg

Whey – protein shake dried powder – per 2  heaped teaspoons 15g A great addition to your diet after resistance training. Also beneficial for the liver – boosts glutathione levels. 120mg
Watercress – 100g – this is typically the size of the salad bags sold in supermarkets 100mg – 170mg
Beans – 100g (chickpeas, kidney tinned and drained  – 10 teaspoons) 40mg -70mg
Houmous – 2 heaped teaspoons 50g 20mg
Poppy seeds (10g – 2 heaped teaspoons) Sesame seeds (10g – 2 heaped teaspoons) 150mg  67mg
Tofu (made from soybean) 150 – 510mg
Seaweeds – Kombu, (10g) 90mg
Tinned sardines – eat the bones  – 100g 480mg
Tinned salmon – eat the bones (red – pink)

Prawns – 100g

Salmon cutlet, grilled  -100g

Chicken breast, grilled without skin – 100g

300mg – 150mg

100g

25mg

7mg

Breads made with fortified flour  – 100g (a slice is typically 80g – 100g) 180  – 240mg
Almonds – 10 almonds is 10g

Brazils – 2 nuts is about 15g

Hazelnuts – 10 are about 10g

24mg

25mg

14mg

Mineral water – e.g. ballygowan 1 litreCoconut WATER – has calcium (24mg) magnesium (18mg) potassium (250mg)  114mg 

24mg

All Herbs – dried basil, thyme, marjoram, celery seeds, sage, oregano, mint, coriander, rosemary,    10g – 2 heaped teaspoons 100mg-200mg
Cumin Seeds – 10g     Celery seeds – 10g 97mg  / 177mg
Egg –  medium size 65g 37mg
Vegetables (other than greens) – parsnip, squash, carrot, sweet potato, chilli pepper, beetroot, fennel, asparagus, green beans, celery – per 100g 30mg – 40mg
Some breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium – check your pack

What does calcium do for our body?

  1. It is used to build teeth and bones
  2. It contracts muscles and magnesium relaxes muscles
  3. It activates enzymes e.g lipase that digests fat
  4. It is needed for blood to clot and is involved in other processes
  5. It is involved in the release of brain chemicals and nerve impulses
What if we don’t get enough calcium?  

You may experience muscle cramps, aching joints, brittle nails, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure but calcium does not work alone. Vitamin D helps calcium to be absorbed from food. Magnesium helps Vitamin D to be converted to its active form. Magnesium regulates the rate of calcium absorption from food. High doses of magnesium, zinc or iron can interfere with the absorption of calcium

To have enough calcium to perform vital functions such as heart beat and blood clotting, the body will steal calcium from the bones. A long-term deficiency of calcium from a calcium poor diet results in bones being fragile (fractures/breaks)

Tip: Seek professional advice when considering supplementing as nutrients work together BUT always assess your diet and improve on it if necessary before reverting to supplemention.                                                                            

Tips to increase your calcium intake across the day from many Food Sources
  • Stewed or baked figs with yogurt drizzled in honey (3 dried figs = 100 calories)
  • A chicken broth soup made using stock that you cooked up at home from organic/free range chicken carcass
  •  Stewed rhubarb with currents and raisins as a treat with yogurt topping
  • Houmous on wholegrain crackers topped with a few olives
  • Sprinkle salads and breakfast cereals with sesame seeds and poppy seeds – just 2 teaspoons if calorie watching
  • Make up a coleslaw using a mix of white and red cabbage, celery and onion dressed in a yogurt and oil dressing
  • Snack on berries, almonds and a few currants
  • Create an Indian style stew (Dahl) using a variety of ground spices (cumin, marjoram etc- Green saffron in Midleton create a lovely blend selling in main supermarkets) and use chickpeas as a base. Serve with green leafy vegetables.
  • Note the importance of mineral water as a source of calcium and other minerals. Dublin City water is rated as soft, low in calcium.
  • Add fresh herbs or ground spices to as many dishes as possible – they are mineral rich and flavoursome. Use derivatives such as green pesto (basil)
  • Whey Protein

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