By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer
We all remember Popeye popping open a can of spinach to gain super strength in the cartoons of our childhood. While spinach won’t actually make you instantly grow big muscles to fight villains, it is one of the top vegetables for calcium, which helps us grow strong, healthy bones.
Calcium is important because it helps build and maintain strong healthy bones and teeth, helps with blood clotting, supports nervous system function and regulates the heartbeat. It also can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease which causes weak and porous bones. Osteoporosis accounts for over 1.5 million broken or fractured bones each year. Women over 50 are specifically at high risk for osteoporosis. The recommended daily requirement of calcium is 1,000 mg. for adults ages 19-50 and 1,200 mg. for adults over 50.
About 99% of our calcium intake is stored in our bones and teeth, while the other 1% is found in our blood and soft tissues. When calcium stores run low in our blood, the body borrows calcium from the bones. If this happens too frequently, we are left with weak, calcium deficient bones. Increasing our calcium intake by eating calcium rich foods can prevent bone problems in the future. Additionally, foods that are rich in Vitamin D and Vitamin K help the body absorb more calcium and regulate calcium stores.
Most people are aware that milk and other dairy products are a great source of calcium. However, dairy products are also high in saturated fats. Also, people with dairy intolerance or those who choose vegan diets are not able to benefit from the high calcium in dairy products. Eating veggies high in calcium can help those who cannot get their daily dose of calcium from dairy.
Dark, leafy greens and dried beans are some of the most well-known calcium rich vegetables, but they are not the only veggie calcium sources. Below are some of the best vegetables for calcium. Note: High sodium intake can result in loss of calcium, so it may be best to skip the salt.
This article was last updated on
Read more about General Vegetable Garden Care
After sneaking in a much-needed post holiday workout, my friend Sarah and I hit up a restaurant in town for lunch. "I'll have the lean chicken breast," she told the waiter, "Gotta up my protein." Smart choice: A solid serving of protein after a sweat sesh is crucial for building lean muscle mass and blasting away belly fat. "As for me," I said, glancing past the meats, "I'll have…. the roasted veggie salad." Surprised? So was Sarah. "I'm going to let you in on a little secret," I told her. "Protein-packed chicken isn't the only food that helps you get toned. Veggies also pack a punch." In fact, some high-protein vegetables have as much as 8 grams per cup. That may pale in comparison to a chicken breast (34 grams per 4 ounces) or burger (26 grams per quarter pounder), but vegetables are also high-fiber foods that contain antioxidants and vitamins.
They're not only more affordable sources of the nutrient than fish and beef, but they can be healthier, too: People who consume higher amounts of vegetable protein are significantly less susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. What's more, the study found that replacing about 5 grams of animal protein with plant protein daily would reduce the risk of diabetes by an impressive 18 percent.
That's not all. Another Nutrients journal study found that plant protein could help dieters feel just as full and less hungry than the same amount of animal protein.
Looking to reap the slimming benefits? We've gathered up the most popular veggies on your plate and ranked them according to their protein content. So whether you're a vegetarian or an omnivore just looking to pack on the protein without having to scarf down another baked chicken breast, bookmark this handy guide to always have your go-to plant-based sources on hand.
Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It’s just about everywhere in the form of rocks and minerals. And it makes its way into plants and then into the animals who eat plants.
Calcium is an essential mineral for human health. It’s primarily stored in your bones and teeth. (And it’s what makes your pearly whites so strong).
More calcium exists in your body than any other mineral. That works out well because you need calcium to perform some essential functions.
Calcium also enables the most critical muscle in your body — your heart — to receive signals and contract. Without calcium, your heart wouldn’t work!
Eating plenty of vegetables may be one of the simplest ways to improve health and well-being.
All vegetables contain healthful vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber — but some stand out for their exceptional benefits.
Specific vegetables may offer more health advantages to certain people, depending on their diets, overall health, and nutritional needs.
In this article, we look at 15 of the most healthful vegetables and suggest ways to enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.
Share on Pinterest Andersen Ross/Getty Images.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable and a great source of calcium, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants.
Due to its iron and calcium content, spinach is a great addition to any meat- or dairy-free diet.
One cup of raw spinach is mostly made up of water and contains only 7 calories . It also provides:
Vitamin K is essential for a healthy body — especially for strong bones, as it improves the absorption of calcium.
Spinach also provides a good amount of iron for energy and healthy blood, and a high level of magnesium for muscle and nerve function.
It is also rich in antioxidants, and research suggests that spinach leaves may lower blood pressure and benefit heart health.
If a person is taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), they should use caution when increasing their intake of dark leafy greens. Doctors recommend maintaining a consistent vitamin K intake over time for people taking these medications.
How to eat spinach
People enjoy spinach raw in salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. Cooked spinach also has significant health benefits and is a great addition to pasta dishes and soups.
Kale is a very popular leafy green vegetable with several health benefits. It provides around 7 calories per cup of raw leaves and good amounts of vitamins A, C, and K.
Kale may benefit people with high cholesterol. One small 2008 study reports that males with high cholesterol who drank 150 milliliters of kale juice each day for 12 weeks experienced a 10% reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol and a 27% increase in high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol.
Research from 2015 , meanwhile, suggests that kale juice can reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
If a person is taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, they should use caution when increasing their intake of dark leafy greens. It is best to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake while taking these medications.
How to eat kale
People use baby kale in pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. A person may also enjoy kale chips or juice.
The most healthful calcium sources are green leafy vegetables and legumes, or "greens and beans" for short. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and other greens are loaded with highly absorbable calcium and a host of other healthful nutrients. The exception is spinach, which contains a large amount of calcium but tends to hold onto it very tenaciously, so that you will absorb less of it.
Beans are humble foods, and you might not know that they are loaded with calcium. There is more than 100 milligrams of calcium in a plate of baked beans. If you prefer chickpeas, tofu, or other bean or bean products, you will find plenty of calcium there, as well. These foods also contain magnesium, which your body uses along with calcium to build bones.
If you are looking for a very concentrated calcium source, calcium-fortified orange or apple juices contain 300 milligrams or more of calcium per cup in a highly absorbable form. Many people prefer calcium supplements, which are now widely available.
Dairy products do contain calcium, but it is accompanied by animal proteins, lactose sugar, animal growth factors, occasional drugs and contaminants, and a substantial amount of fat and cholesterol in all but the defatted versions.
Exercise is important for many reasons, including keeping bones strong. Active people tend to keep calcium in their bones, while sedentary people lose calcium.
Vitamin D controls your body's use of calcium. About 15 minutes of sunlight on your skin each day normally produces all the vitamin D you need. If you get little or no sun exposure, you can get vitamin D from any multiple vitamin. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 600 IU (5 micrograms) per day. Vitamin D is often added to milk, but the amount added is not always well controlled.