Calcium is an important mineral and is involved in several bodily functions. In general sense, we associate it with bones and teeth.

However, it helps in several major body functions like blood clotting, muscle contraction, regulation of heart beat and nerve functions.

The skeletal structure of the body stores almost 99% of the body’s calcium composition and the rest 1% is found in blood, muscles and tissues.

1, Daily intake of calcium

Our body mostly gets calcium from the food we eat. Health experts recommend 1000 mg calcium for men and women aged between 19-50 years of age. For aged people, calcium intake should be higher.

Calcium is abundantly found in dairy products; for those who are lactose intolerant here are 7 alternatives.

2, Soy milk

Everytime we think about an alternative of milk, soy milk comes to our mind. Soy milk, and also fortified soy milk, is dense with calcium.

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It is also rich in vitamin D which you can have if you are allergic to milk and milk products.

3, Chia seeds

The tiny chia seeds are loaded with nutrients. They are dense in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

It is very easy to include chia seeds in your diet. These are small seeds which swell up when put in water. Chia seeds often take the flavour of the food it is mixed with.

Be it oatmeal or yogurt, chia seeds can be added to anything.

4. Almonds

1 cup of almonds contain 385 mg of calcium. So if you have 1 cup of almond everyday, in any form, you are fulfilling more than one-third of daily calcium intake.

You can have soaked almonds everyday. The amount of almonds that you should consume on a daily basis should be decided taking into consideration other calcium rich food items you eat regularly.

5. ​Sunflower seeds

Just like almonds, sunflower seeds are also rich in calcium. It has been found that a single cup of sunflower seeds contain almost 110 mg of calcium.

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Apart from calcium, sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E and copper. Hence in addition to calcium, the other essential nutrients present in sunflower seeds also helps in muscle and nerve health.

6. Sesame seeds

This is a very common food which is available throughout the year in Indian kitchens. 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds which we mostly use in parathas or in ladoos contain 88 mg of calcium.

The unique earthy and oily taste of sesame seeds make it extremely delicious and you can add this to salad, and even spicy curries.

7. Broccoli

The calcium content in broccoli is much similar to sesame seeds. One cup of broccoli has 87 mg of calcium.

However, since Broccoli is a vegetable and considering the portion size of an individual, one needs to add other calcium enriched food to the diet in order to make sure that the daily intake of calcium is met.

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8. Orange

If you love sweet and tangy oranges, you can actually have one of those and get about 75 mg of calcium.

Depending on what your diet is, you can always have one orange as a mid-snack.

9. Seasonal vegetables

Apart from picking calcium dense foods, always make sure to have seasonal vegetables.

These vegetables are rich in phytonutrients as they are not forcefully grown. Having seasonal vegetables boosts your health and prepares it to deal with the entire season.

The takeaway message

Vitamin D is essential for the body so that it can store calcium in the body. Always make sure to give your body sufficient vitamin D through sunshine.

Without sufficient vitamin D the body replenishes the stored calcium in the bones and weakens it.