Calcium is an essential mineral that has many awesome health benefits, like improving the overall health of your bones and teeth.
It can also play a role in improving your mood, so getting it through your food is a good move!
Here are some ways to make sure you get enough of it.
- Add a few tablespoons of plain yoghurt or milk to your breakfast or smoothie
- Take a lead from the Greeks and have a small glass of plain yoghurt with honey and nuts as a dessert
- Use plain yoghurt to make a creamy pesto sauce: heat pesto in a pan (add cooked chicken strips or baby tomatoes) and once hot, turn the heat down and add a few tablespoons of plain yoghurt
- Vary your cheeses instead of always sticking to something like Gouda. Try harder cheese or white cheese, or if you don’t want to overdo it, choose a cheese with a stronger flavour so that you end up using less
- Cottage cheese mixed with sweet chilli sauce, mustard or finely diced peppadews makes for a delicious spread or dip
- Stir-fry spinach, kale or Swiss chard, or shred very finely and add to a salad or coleslaw, or simply add a handful into a stew, soup or smoothie
- Some beans, like white beans, also contain calcium. Add to oven-baked vegetables, or a baked dish like lasagne, mix into a vegetable and couscous salad, or puree into spreads and dips.
- Salmon is also a source of calcium so opt for the canned version which is easy to add to salads and pastas. Fresh salmon has less calcium, but you can also bake some in tinfoil with a little olive oil and pepper in the oven. Not a fan of salmon? Try cooking sardines and sliced red peppers in a baking tray as it’s another type of oily fish which contains calcium
- Raw almonds make for a quick and convenient snack so keep some of them handy. If you’re not a fan of whole almonds, go for the flaked or slivered varieties which can easily be mixed into couscous, salads, roast vegetables, smoothies or stir-fries.
Vitamin D helps to increase calcium absorption and you can get it from food as well as from spending some time in the sunshine. Include fish like sardines or mackerel in your diet, as well as fortified products and eggs.
Get your hands on one of these delicious calcium-containing Kauai products: Some freshly squeezed wheatgrass, or the much loved Peanut Butter Bomb or Strawberry Bomb that both have whey protein, or go with The Gem – a tasty smoothie with almonds, banana, honey, low fat milk and low fat frozen yoghurt perfect for any time of the day.
Written for the Virgin Active SA blog