Got Figs? 7 Surprising Sources of Calcium

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

You probably know calcium as a builder of strong bones and teeth. The mineral also plays a key role in helping your heart, muscles, and nerves functioning properly. Calcium is vitally important to anyone trying to lose weight because it regulates how fat is processed and stored in your body. The more calcium in your fat cells, the more fat your body metabolizes, report researchers at the The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee. They also found that dieters who ate calcium-rich foods were more likely to lose unhealthy belly fat than other people who had reduced their caloric intake.

Men of all ages and women 19-50 years old need 1,000 mg. of calcium daily. Older women should get a bit more—1,200 mg.—to prevent the loss of bone density that results from aging. Dairy products, especially low-fat milk and yogurt, are excellent sources of calcium for people trying to lose weight. You can get calcium from a wide variety of other foods, too. Add some of these to your daily diet to ensure your body has the essential calcium it needs.

1. Almonds
Calcium content: 38 mg. per 1/2 ounce
Nutrisystem category: PowerFuels
Know this: Almonds have more protein, fiber, vitamin E, and calcium, pound for pound, than any other type of nut.

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2. Figs
Calcium content: 60 mg. per 1/4 cup dried
Nutrisystem category: SmartCarbs
Know this: Dried figs are very high in soluble fiber, which is essential to healthy digestion and preventing constipation.

3. Oranges
Calcium content: 65 mg. per medium-size fruit
Nutrisystem category: SmartCarbs
Know this: Bottled orange juice is often fortified with calcium, giving you an extra dose of the mineral in every sip.

4. Collard Greens
Calcium content: 84 mg. per 1 cup
Nutrisystem category: Vegetables
Know this: This member of the cabbage family also supplies you with 250 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and about 60 percent of the vitamin C you need daily.

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5. White Beans
Calcium content: 96 mg. per 1/2 cup
Nutrisystem category: SmartCarbs
Know this: Dried beans of all kinds are low on the Glycemic Index, which means they digest slowly and leave you feeling full for a long time.

6. Canned Salmon
Calcium content: 122 mg. per 2 ounces
Nutrisystem category: Powerfuels
Know this: The bones, which contain the calcium, soften during the canning process, so they are safe to eat.

7. Tofu
Calcium content: 861 mg. per 1/2 cup
Nutrisystem category: PowerFuels
Know this: A half-cup of tofu has just 94 calories and contains no saturated fat, and it supplies you with 35 percent of your RDA for iron.