The most important nutrient for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones is calcium. But this is not the only role of calcium, apart from this, it also helps in regulating blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood vessels and prevents insulin resistance which may lead to type 2 diabetes, thus making it very important for leading a healthy life. Below we have mentioned 12 of the best calcium rich food items that you must include in your diet.

1. Low-fat milk- One cup of low-fat milk contains almost 31% of calcium. We are referring to low-fat milk as the full-fat version is very high in fat content along with the calcium and we don’t need the extra fat. Low-fat and fat-free milk is more concentrated in calcium content and it is a great option for people who are trying to manage their weight.

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2. Cheese- Being a dairy product cheese is just as good as milk when compared to calcium content. The way fat-free or low-fat milk has more calcium content similarly fat-free cheeses such as low fat parmesan and non-fat mozzarella has comparatively more calcium content than their fatty counterparts.

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3. Yogurt- By this time, you would have realized that almost all dairy products are an amazing source of calcium, yogurt being no exception. It also contains proteins, minerals, potassium and vitamins as well. Apart from being a great source of calcium yogurt is also a probiotic which means it maintains the number of good bacteria in our body, which boosts immune system and helps in fighting with infections. A single serving of fat-free yogurt contains 49% of calcium.

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4. Kale- Kale is a leafy green vegetable which belongs to the spinach family. Though it is not one of those loved vegetables but it should definitely be one. It has a slightly bitter taste. This is a perfect source of calcium for those who are intolerant to lactose and dairy. Kale is an amazing source of calcium and several other nutrients that are crucial for our good health. One of the best ways to include kale in your diet is by making kale chips by baking them in the oven and seasoning them with your favourite spices.

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5. Sardines- Sardines are small fishes which can be eaten whole along with their bones. These are commonly eaten in pickled or canned form. These fall under the category of oily fishes. Seven whole sardines can provide you with 320 mg of calcium which equals to 32% of your required daily intake. Though these have a very strong flavour but to cover up the smell you can cook it with strong spices such as ginger and garlic and lots of chilly.

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6. Collard greens- Collard greens consists of around 268 mg of calcium serving almost ¼ of the daily required intake. Apart from the high calcium content it also contains vitamin A and C. these leafy greens also has detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps in the prevention of cancer.

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7. Spinach- Spinach may not be your favourite vegetable but after reading about its nutritional value it might become one. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked spinach has almost 24% of your daily calcium intake? It also has several vitamins and minerals along with proteins. The vitamins present in the spinach aids in activating osteocalcin which keep the molecules grounded inside the bones. The presence of magnesium also makes it a must eat food if you want to get strong and healthy bones.

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8. Oranges- Not many people know this but 1 cup of oranges contains almost 80 mg of calcium which equals to 8% of our daily recommended calcium intake. Apart from this orange juice helps in the better absorption of calcium in the bones which is very much similar to that of calcium supplements and milk. But because oranges are very acidic in nature it is not advisable to eat oranges on a daily basis as it can irritate your stomach lining.

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9. Soy and soy products- If you are lactose or dairy intolerant then soy milk is the perfect alternative for you. A half cup of low-fat or non-fat soy milk fulfills 13% of your daily calcium intake. On the other hand ½ cup of tofu can provide you with 460 mg of calcium which makes up 43% of your daily calcium intake. And like most of the other calcium loaded food items, soy products too are rich sources of protein as well.

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10. Salmon- If you are a healthy eater then chances are that you are already aware of the health-related benefits of this fish. One serving of salmon provides you with 180 mg of calcium. If you are using canned fish then ½ can is enough to provide you 260 mg of calcium.

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11. Oatmeal- Oatmeal is one of the healthiest options for breakfast as it is loaded with vitamins and fibres. Along with these oats are also an amazing source of calcium as well. It is very filling and has a lot of health-related benefits. A single serving of oats (35gm) can provide you with 105 mg of calcium.

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12. Kidney beans- Kidney beans are one of the most trusted source of calcium apart from dairy. 100 gm of kidney beans can provide you with 19% of your daily calcium requirement. Though it is advisable to soak them in water overnight for better digestion and absorption.

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