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Dra. Ana Rita Horta




Sources of calcium

Besides cow's milk

HPA Magazine 20

Cow's milk, as we know it today, whether due to its production method or processing, is far from being the "most perfect food in nature."
Increasingly, whether due to food intolerances/allergies to its proteins and/or sugars (such as casein and lactose), associated pathologies (such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases, hormonal health, etc.), or even as a trend (since there is increasing scientific evidence validating the disadvantages for health), there are more and more people who have stopped consuming cow's milk regularly.
However, when milk is eliminated or restricted from the diet, there is always the lingering question: "So where do I get calcium from?"


Regarding calcium, we only absorb a small portion of what is found in cow's milk. 
For example, in a 250ml cup of milk, it provides about 300mg of calcium, but we only absorb about 32%, or 86mg of calcium (revealing the truth behind the myth...).
The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 1000 mg for a healthy adult. 
The daily requirement for this mineral varies depending on age, reaching 1,200mg per day after age 50.
In this context, it is also important to underline the factors that affect the loss of calcium in the body:
> Diets that are too high in protein (meat/fish/sausages/cured meats), caffeine in coffee, theine in green and black tea, excess sodium (salt), high alcohol intake, cause greater loss of calcium through urine;
> The absence of physical exercise also contributes to the decrease in its absorption and deposition of calcium in bones.
Now, strategies to increase calcium absorption:
> Calcium absorption by the body increases if we consume a food rich in this nutrient (see list) and add to its intake foods rich in Iron, such as spirulina in straw or flakes (attention to the drying method in its processing, it should not be above 40º), legumes, cabbage, and Vitamin C, such as kiwi, orange, acerola, guava;
> Vitamin D also helps fix calcium in bones, so it becomes interesting to ingest this vitamin at a strategic time of the day.


Fortunately, there is a great variety of good sources of calcium and great substitutes for cow's milk. These foods are essential not only for bones and teeth but also for gaining muscle strength and blood clotting mechanisms. 
If there are hereditary factors that indicate the development of osteoporosis, it is really important to know the best sources of calcium.

To replace milk without fear, here is a list of foods rich in calcium:
Sardines are known to be sources of good fats, such as omega-3. However, sardines are also rich in calcium, as every 100g of sardines contain about 440mg of calcium. Additionally, they are also rich in vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption in the body.
A 100g serving of flaxseed contains 200mg of calcium, but it must be ground and hydrated before consumption, and stored in a closed glass container in the fridge.
Every 100g of this food provides 120mg of calcium. Other benefits of consumption include a feeling of satiety, improved intestinal transit, and being a good source of plant-based protein.
Every 100g of white beans contains 240mg of calcium. In fact, white beans are very rich and can be incorporated into salads, soups, as a meat accompaniment, or even as a substitute.
A seed rich in omega-3, fiber, iron, and protein. Every 100g of this food contains 556.8mg of calcium. It should be hydrated in water, plant-based milk, or natural fruit juice before consumption.
Rich in calcium, it offers 300mg of this mineral per 100g, also contributing to good cholesterol and being one of the most affordable cereals to add to your diet.
We can find 400mg of calcium in every 100g of this food. It can be added to salads, smoothies, soups, etc.
When consuming 100g of almonds, we ingest about 137mg of calcium, and almonds can also be consumed as a plant-based drink.
Rich in vitamin D, which helps calcium strengthen bones, and rich in lean protein, which helps strengthen and define muscles. For example, a boiled egg contains only 28mg of calcium. However, its consumption should not be neglected because it is compensated for by the high content of vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption.
These herbs have the following calcium records:
DRIED BASIL: 2,240mg of calcium/100g
DRIED THYME: 1,890mg of calcium/100g
DRIED ROSEMARY: 1,280mg of calcium/100g

Believe it or not, when cutting milk from your diet, you won't miss it. If you miss it out of habit or for any reason, you can replace it with plant-based drinks such as almond or nut milk, but without added sugars.