4 Easy Recipes to Increase Calcium Intake Naturally

Without a doubt, calcium is one of the most important minerals, not just for the bones but for the body as a whole. In addition to maintaining strong bones and teeth, calcium helps remove toxins from the colon and it is important to your nervous system. When you lack calcium for these other purposes, your body loots your skeleton, which can precipitate osteoporosis.

The general recommendation is for women to get 1,000 mg of daily calcium before menopause and 1,500 mg after menopause. Women with osteoporosis or osteopenia are often recommended calcium supplements to make sure they get enough calcium every day.

However, calcium is far from the only mineral needed for healthy bone growth, and a balanced intake of all minerals involved in bone formation is preferable to a selective focus on one mineral. Secondly, calcium supplementation has been linked to increased risk of kidney stones and, in a recent study from New Zealand, even to higher rates of cardiovascular disease. In short, the best way to get the daily minimum recommended calcium is the way Mother Nature intended – through your diet.

Does your body get at least 1000mg of calcium daily? How can you be sure? If you’re looking for natural ways to increase calcium intake, here are four recipes for simple meal additions, which can provide over 1000mg of calcium and save you from chugging milk or chewing supplements.

Gomasio (A Sesame Seed Condiment)

Did you know that unhulled roasted sesame seeds contain 88mg of calcium per tablespoon? And really, who can stop at just one serving of these two popular Asian recipes?

Gomasio is one of our favorite ways to eat sesame seeds. It is a dry condiment, often sprinkled on top of rice. The recipe below is for one serving, but make up a larger back and put it in a jar with a lid, so you have it available to sprinkle on rice, vegetable dishes, and any other food you fancy during meals. Try it with the collard greens recipe below!

  • 2 tbsp tan, black, or mixed roasted sesame seeds

  • a pinch of sea salt

After roasting the seeds in the oven at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes (when you can smell them, they’re done), use a coffee grinder to crack the seeds and create a slightly mealy mixture. Crack the seeds is important to help you digest them. For larger quantities, use at least eight parts sesame to one part salt.

Calcium content: 176 mg per each 2 tbs serving

Banana-Black Sesame-Soy Milk Smoothie

  • 2 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds

  • 3 ripe bananas

  • 2 cups soy milk (calcium-fortified)

  • 4-6 ice cubes (optional)

A popular drink in Japanese cafés, juice bars, and even fast food franchises, this drink is exactly what it says on the menu. This easy recipe makes 3 servings,  but try splitting it between two people. Have seconds!

Peel and drop the bananas into a blender. Add two cups of soy milk. You may need another half cup, almost to cover, if the bananas are large. Grind the black sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder) and add them on top. Blend on the highest setting until the banana and soy milk are smooth. At this point you may add ice and crush or blend to taste.

Soy milk is usually fortified with over 350mg of calcium per cup. Bananas only contain about 8mg each, but may help increase calcium absorption from other foods. They are also high in potassium. In all, this recipe provides roughly 900mg of calcium. That’s 300mg divided between three people and 450mg between two.

Collard Greens Sauteed in Garlic

  • 2 lbs collard greens

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 oz garlic

Peel and crush or chop the garlic cloves and set them aside. Wash and finely shred the collard greens. Heat a frying pan. It’s best to use one with a lid in order to retain moisture and cut oil. Saute the garlic in the oil until the garlic begins to change color. Add a portion of the greens to the pan, stir, and continue adding greens as they wilt and make room. Saute the greens and garlic for five minutes, or until they change color. If necessary, add a little water to prevent scorching.

In addition to a host of heart, anti-inflammatory, and other benefits, one ounce of garlic contains 51mg of calcium. One cup of cooked collard greens can provide over 300mg of calcium. Regularly eating collard greens may also help prevent certain cancers.

Sweet Lassi

  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • ½ tsp rose water

  • a pinch of cardamom

  • a pinch of salt (optional)

At its most basic, lassi is an Indian drink made with yogurt and water. Variations on the theme abound. The most popular are traditional ‘salted’ lassi, ‘sweet’ lassi, and mango lassi. Just combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serves two.

Beyond providing at least 230mg of calcium per glass, the yogurt cultures in lassi is a great aid for digestion, and the mixture of water makes the drink easier to digest than just eating yoghurt. For maximum calcium intake, drink Lassi with your meals twice a day.

Still Hungry?

If you’re still hungry, try adding these foods or snacks:

  • A handful of almonds – 37mg of calcium

  • A boiled artichoke with butter – 140mg of calcium

  • A tablespoon of organic molasses – 112mg of calcium

  • A sardine sandwich  – 325mg of calcium!

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