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Essential Nutrients and Minerals: Calcium

This month La Holista provide a run down on Calcium – how much you need and top plant sources to get it from.

While there are numerous nutrients and minerals that everyone needs in their diet, there are some particular nutrients – calcium, iron and omega 3 – that are particularly important for athletes.

Calcium is an important mineral that the body uses to:

        build strong teeth

        build strong bones

        clot blood normally

        ensure muscle function

        ensure nerve function

        ensure the heart beats normally

        maintain normal blood pressure 

The recommended daily intake is about 1000mg both for men and women, but rises to 1,200mg for women over the age of 50.

A low calcium diet can be harmful because if the body does not get enough calcium from the diet, it will draw it from the bones. This reduces bone mass and leads to the risk of osteoporosis.

When we think of calcium, we often immediately think of milk and dairy products. While you can get calcium from dairy, it is not your only option.  In fact, just like cows, you can get your calcium straight from a plant source. Here are some examples:

Broccoli: 1 cup contains 60mg

Mustard greens: 1 cup contains 165mg

Collards: 1 cup contains 250mg

Kale: 1 cup contains 95mg

Tofu (non GMO): 1 cup contains 400mg

Dried beans: 1 cup contains 180mg

Sesame seeds: 1 tablespoon contains 88mg

Whole almonds: 1/2 cup contains 200mg

There is some evidence that taking calcium supplements may be dangerous and hence at La Holista we recommend getting all the calcium you need from your regular diet.

Want to know more about calcium? Contact chiara@laholista.com directly.

You can also read more about nutrition for running here.