Osteoporosis is the most common of bone diseases. It means “porous bones” and occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, quicker than the body can replace them. With this loss of minerals the bones lose density and therefore strength, causing them to break more easily than they otherwise would.
Calcium is required for normal growth and development of the skeleton. Adequate calcium intake is critical to achieving optimal bone mass and modifies the rate of bone loss associated with ageing. Calcium is necessary to many other functions in the body, including muscle contraction and blood clotting.
We all know that maintaining proper calcium intake is essential for bone and overall health, but what if dairy isn’t an option? Luckily there are plenty of dairy-free alternatives that are often higher in calcium than most dairy products.
Just to compare, one cup (250ml) of full-fat milk contains roughly 275-300 mg of calcium, depending on the brand.
540 mg per 100 g of sardines
These delicious fish are filled with calcium-rich bones and the skin is high in calcium and glucosamine too. If the tinned variety doesn’t interest you, then buy fresh and cook them slowly to break down that bones and make them soft enough to eat.
121 mg per half cup
These beautiful fruits are not only high in calcium but are also packed full of fibre, magnesium, iron and various antioxidants. If you’re going with the dried variety, watch for added nasties like sulphur dioxide and added oils. If you want to eat figs out of season then buy in bulk and dry your own, by cooking them in a low-heat oven for just over an hour, or until dehydrated.
168 mg per 1 cup cooked
Whilst these are traditionally served with butter and delicious meats like bacon, they are just as mouth-watering cooked with good-quality olive oil and garlic. Whether steamed or wilted in a pan, these greens pack a powerful punch when it comes to your daily calcium needs.
101 mg per 1 cup raw
Just one serving of this superfood contains a daily dose of vitamin C and more than your daily amount of vitamin A. The calcium-rich food also provides a large dose of vitamin K – the vital nutrient to help your blood clot.
434 mg per half cup
For those of you that can tolerate soy products, tofu packs a huge punch when it comes to providing your daily dose of calcium.