Reduced Fat, Whole Wheat, Light are some of the labels of food that you might see at the supermarket. You might just about be tempted to pick them thinking that they are healthy for you. But are they really healthy?
Now, Calcium is a very vital nutrient that the body needs in abundant quantities. It’s not just good for your bones and teeth, but it is also necessary to perform some important functions of your body.
The recommended daily intake of calcium is an average of 1000 mg per day, that too women over 50 and people aged above 70 need 1200 mg. Small children aged 4-18 require 1300 mg. But, are we absorbing the right amount of calcium that our body really needs?
We can get easily carried off by picking up foods we think are healthy and seemingly rich in calcium. But we never know- marketing tactics tend to portray certain products as healthy.
Here are 20 food products that you think are rich in calcium, but on the contrary are foods low in calcium. Some of them are also calcium absorption inhibitors that lead to depletion of calcium.
There is a widespread belief that eggs are rich in calcium. This crops up from the false impression that eggs are a dairy product. While eggs do contain some calcium, they do not contain a significant amount like other dairy products.
They contain an average of 25-30 mg of calcium, which makes it a very unlikely candidate of calcium rich food.
Leafy green vegetables are always a healthy alternative. Spinach is a great food with rich nutrients and also contains good levels of calcium. However, when consumed, the calcium content does not get properly absorbed by the body. This is due to the presence of oxalic acid; that is one of the factors that prevent the absorption of calcium.
3. Cream Cheese
Sure, cream cheese is part of the dairy foods group, but does it mean it is rich in calcium? No, cream cheese contains minimal cheese and more of water and other ingredients. This makes it minimal when it comes to its calcium content. Soft cheese is said to contain less calcium and is a low calcium food, than its other counterparts. Cheese like parmesan, cottage cheese and more are calcium rich foods.
4. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt contains many nutrients that are good for our overall wellbeing, including calcium. Many sought to Greek yogurt thinking that it is a healthy alternative to sweetened yogurts. However, Greek yogurt is a low calcium food. And so is the case with sweetened yogurts and fruit yogurts. The sugar content in them tends to negate the calcium value. Plain yogurt, low-fat yogurt are the best source of calcium.
5. Orange Juice
Orange as a fruit is a great source of calcium. But when it comes to orange juice, you may want to check the label of your orange juice to see if it really contains much calcium.
However, fortified orange juice can contain good levels of calcium and be absorbed well in your system. Be aware and check the food labels, before coming to any conclusion.
Oatmeal is touted to be very beneficial and contains good nutrients. But, it is a calcium absorption inhibitor. This is due to the presence of a chemical named Phytate. As oatmeal is high in fiber content and contains Phytates, it can potentially block the absorption of calcium in the human body.
7. Fortified Foods
Don’t believe a particular food is healthy just because you see words like fortified or enriched. Ensure to check what are they really fortified or enriched with? Do they contain essential ingredients such as calcium in the right quantities?
8. Health Bars
Meal replacement bars, snack bars, and energy bars all claim to be healthful. However, in reality, these are largely soy-based protein bars. Soy is said to potentially contain Phytates which is one of the factors that prevent the absorption of calcium. Block the absorption of calcium. They might contain good nutrients, but most of them are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other such ingredients that are low calcium foods.
Not all fish are good sources of calcium. Only oily fish like sardines, salmon and tuna are calcium rich and contain great nutrients. So, when you are looking to get your calcium from fish, always opt for healthy choices. Due to their edible bones, sardines and salmon are generally a good choice.
10. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and chives contain oxalic acid. Consumption of oxalic acid depletes the calcium in the body by preventing its absorption. Eating too much green leafy vegetable can have detrimental effects on the calcium levels in your body.
Also, some of them have high levels of phosphorous that can also inhibit calcium absorption in the human body. Since both phosphorous and calcium require Vitamin D, for it to be absorbed, having both can lead to competition for Vitamin D. This can cause calcium to lose out.
Soybean is considered to be very healthy and a great source of protein. However, if you consume more, the oxalic acid in this food binds with the calcium and makes it impossible to absorb by your body.
Legumes are basically plant-based foods that contain seed pods like chickpeas and various types of beans. These contain a chemical called phytic acid that interferes with the calcium absorption process. It is recommended to soak them overnight before cooking to reduce the detrimental effects of phytic acid.
13. Sports Drinks
At times foods that are considered to be very healthy may contain calcium, but is it really absorbed by our body? You may drink health drinks that contain calcium, but how far the body really absorbs it, is a big question. Sports drinks contain too much sugar and electrolytes that can hinder calcium absorption in the human body. Sure, they are good for high endurance training, but they are definitely not good calcium rich.
14. Chocolate Milk
Milk is the best source of calcium. But it does not mean, adding cocoa and having it in the form of chocolate milk will give you the best benefit. Cocoa can deter the absorption of calcium from the milk because it contains oxalic acid. So, the next time you give your kids chocolate milk, think again, as they might be losing out on the vital nutrient of calcium.
15. High Fiber Foods
While fiber does have several good benefits in promoting digestive health and promoting bowel regularity, it can be bad for calcium. Large amounts of fiber can potentially decrease the amount of calcium that your body is able to absorb. Foods such as whole wheat bread, artichokes, apples and other high fiber foods should not be taken in tandem with high calcium meals.
Going to your local juice centers for a smoothie may sound like a healthy alternative to breakfast for starters, but do you really know what goes inside your smoothie? Sure, the low-fat dairy, fruit, veggies base is good for you, but it is also loaded with high sugar, ice cream or powders. Having a fruit rich in calcium is any day better than relying on smoothies or juices loaded with sugar.
17. Peanut Butter
Peanuts may be a good source of calcium, but not peanut butter. A 2- tbsp. serving of peanut butter contains only 13.8 mg of calcium or just 1 percent of your recommended daily value. So, this makes it a very low source of calcium. Even though it might be rich in other essential minerals, it is a poor source of calcium.
18. Whole Wheat Foods
We can get easily deceived by whole wheat foods. It is rich in fiber and other essential nutrients that are good for the body. But when it comes to calcium absorption, whole wheat can make you lose out on calcium. According to NCBI study, calcium absorption from a whole wheat cereal is less than that of milk. Also, when the two is taken together, it actually leads to lesser calcium being absorbed by the body.
19. Salty Foods
Consuming excessive amounts of sodium or having too much salt in your food, can lead to adverse effects. Having too much sodium is bad to the calcium levels in your body. Since, excessive sodium can lead to urinary excretion of calcium and cause depletion of it, watch out for the salt in your food. The recommended sodium intake is at 1500 mg per day.
Sure, you are adding milk to your coffee, and that means more calcium. But the caffeine in the coffee can make you lose out the calcium in the milk. Caffeine interferes with calcium absorption in the human body and leads to more depletion of calcium in the form of sweat, urine. Having too much coffee can lead to low calcium levels.
Thus, there are several foods that you might think is calcium rich, but it may not really be. Some are foods low in calcium, some are nutritious foods that may even contain calcium, but it may not be properly utilized by the body. Also, some foods are calcium absorption inhibitors that lead to depletion of calcium. Make a healthy choice and eat a well-balanced diet to reap the benefits of calcium.