Calcium is an essential mineral needed for healthy bones, teeth and heart function. As kids, we were always told to drink plenty of milk, a popular source of calcium, to ensure we grow up big and strong. However, there’s more to this mineral than just strong bones. Although 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in our bones, it’s involved in various areas of the body, from blood clotting to muscle contractions and even regulating heart rhythms and our nervous system.
When our calcium levels are low, the Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) will alert your bones to release more into your bloodstream, along with Vitamin D to aid absorption in the intestines. The PTH also kicks your kidneys into caretaker mode by reducing the amount released when you go to the bathroom.
Once your levels are back to normal, the aptly named hormone Calcitonin comes in to do the exact opposite of PTH–it puts up a stop sign, halting the release of calcium from your bones, and tells your kidneys to resume removing it from the body.
Beyond releasing calcium deposits from our bones, blood, muscle, and other tissues, the body gets calcium from eating foods or supplements that replenish what we consume.
Despite the recommended daily intake (RDI) for calcium for men aged 19-70 and women aged 19-50 sitting at around 1000mg per day (for men aged +70 and women aged +50, it is 1,300mg per day), in New Zealand, the average recommended calcium intake is only 807mg. It’s even worse in many Asian countries where intake is less than 500mg.
Although how much calcium a day we need depends on age, missing out on this essential mineral is associated with osteoporosis. This horrible condition weakens bones, making them prone to fracture—a problem compounded in smokers and those who consume high amounts of coffee, salt, or protein.
So you might be asking yourself, what foods have calcium and what foods are high in calcium? Fortunately, the list is long enough to include not just milk and other dairy foods but leafy greens, beans, nuts, and even some starchy vegetables.
Milk and milk products are the richest sources of dietary calcium. However, milk powder is gaining popularity as a recommended alternative to fresh milk. While a cup of non-fat milk contains 299mg per serving, the more popular full cream milk has only 276mg. Compare that to NATUREDAY A2+ Probiotics Formulated Full Cream Milk Powder, which contains a whopping 572mg or roughly 72% of the calcium an adult needs daily.
Coupled with natural calcium lactate to strengthen bones and teeth, improve bone growth and prevent bone loss, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A to help with absorption is an award-winning combination of probiotics, which in tandem, create a roadmap towards optimal health.
Enriched with two patented, pharmaceutical-grade probiotic strains from the world’s leading supplier, DuPont: Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium HN019 strains, every glass of A2+ milk powder contain 1.7 billion probiotics, delivering improvements for healthy digestion and improved natural immunity.
NATUREDAY A2+ Milk Powder is also more easily digestible for 80% of those who experience discomfort from consuming dairy. In addition to a healthy balance of Omega-6, Omega-3, β-Carotene, Vitamin E and Lactose Protein, NATUREDAY uses only A2 milk from the famous KiwiCross cow. A rich, creamy, sweet flavour for all milk lovers to enjoy, A2+ milk safeguards the health of your whole family without compromising on taste or nutrition.
The best way to enjoy NATUREDAY A2+ Milk Powder is with many other calcium-rich foods. Try adding a couple of scoops to a bowl of overnight oats, with a side of yoghurt and chia seeds. Overnight oats are a quick on-the-go breakfast meal for those with busy schedules–we recommend prepping five portions on a Sunday night to get you through the work week. And for a touch of sweetness, you can’t go wrong with honey.
There’s a whopping 246mg of calcium in a cup of raw almonds (a handful of 15 contain 40mg). Close to double the amount found in almond milk, this humble nut is both delicious and nutritious. Almonds are a fantastic snack choice for the health-conscious and are bursting with healthy fats, fibre, magnesium and Vitamin E.
A single cup or a 200g tub of yoghurt contains around 300mg of calcium or roughly the same amount as a cup of non-fat milk or 40g of cheese. Coupled with phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B2 and B12, it’s another excellent choice for snacking. Soy yoghurt is also a rich source of calcium, containing between 80 to 250mg in a single tub.
Just be aware that a large amount of calcium is removed during the straining process for Greek yoghurt. Despite being a great source of protein (15 to 20 grams per serving), Greek yoghurt has a much lower calcium content at only 110mg.
These young soybeans, typically served as a snack in Japan and China, are packed with nutrients. Alongside the 8 grams of fibre per serving, a cup of cooked edamame contains 98mg calcium. It’s also one of the few non-animal-based foods that contain protein, offering all nine essential amino acids.
Collard, mustard, turnip, kale, bok choy and spinach are all incredible sources of calcium. Kale, for example, contains about 179mg of calcium per cup, while frozen collard greens double that at about 357mg per cup. Cooked spinach is another excellent source of calcium, with 257mg per cup.
Bioavailability determines how much your body can absorb and utilise nutrients from the food you eat. Just because a particular food product is high in calcium does not mean your body will absorb all of it. Calcium is difficult to break down, and as such, calcium bioavailability determines how much can be absorbed from certain foods.
Although specific food elements like Vitamin D, Lactose (protein) and Casein Phosphopeptides in milk can improve calcium absorption, bioavailability is the determining factor. For example, cow’s milk has about 30 to 35 per cent bioavailability.
That means that for every glass of milk containing roughly 160mg of calcium, only 80mg is absorbed. Spinach is another interesting case of bioavailability. Due to the high amounts of oxalates, its bioavailability is drastically lowered to about 5 per cent.
A two-year gold-standard trial saw postmenopausal Chinese women given daily milk powder supplemented by three doses of calcium–300, 600 or 900 mg. The study aimed to examine the effect of milk powder supplementation with different calcium contents on bone mineral density.
Researchers measured the bone density of the hips and spines of each participant to determine their risk of fracture, discovering that only women taking at least 600mg saw increased bone density, with the most significant increase in the higher 900mg group.
A similar study, this time on adolescent children, determined a daily calcium intake of 1110mg per day was associated with greater bone density in the hips and legs of girls when compared to a lower intake of only 655mg.
With triple the amount as a glass of non-fat milk and nearly double that of frozen collard greens, the best source of calcium is a high-efficiency nutritional supplement that combines the benefits of A2 milk with double calcium, five vitamins and probiotics.