Not Just Milk

You need cal­cium to stave off os­teo­poro­sis, but dairy prod­ucts aside, th­ese al­ter­na­tives can be equally good.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Life Made Easy | Nutrition - BY SASHA GON­ZA­LES

EAT TH­ESE:

Nut and Grain Milks

Sheeba Ma­j­mu­dar, a nu­tri­tion­ist who works as a natur­o­pathic con­sul­tant for Verita Ad­vanced Well­ness, says milk made from soya, oats, al­monds and quinoa of­fers sub­stan­tial amounts of cal­cium.

A cup of whole al­monds con­tains around 380mg of cal­cium. In com­par­i­son, you get less – about 275mg – from a cup of reg­u­lar milk. Look for plain, su­gar-free va­ri­eties, and use them as you would cow’s milk, such as in your cof­fee or tea, over ce­real or as a drink.

Seeds

Raw se­same seeds con­tain about 1,000mg of cal­cium in a 100g serv­ing (slightly less than half a cup) – that’s your en­tire rec­om­mended daily amount. Add them to sal­ads, veg­etable dishes and stir-fries, or try tahini, a paste made from se­same seeds.

Chia seeds are also rich in cal­cium, with 100g of­fer­ing ap­prox­i­mately 630mg of the min­eral. Chia seeds are great in smooth­ies, over sal­ads, or mixed into muf­fin or pan­cake bat­ter.

Beans

You know that beans are high in pro­tein and fi­bre, but most va­ri­eties are also abun­dant in cal­cium, says Sheeba. Try white, kid­ney and navy beans, which make hearty veg­gie burg­ers. Soak the beans overnight and boil them un­til they are ten­der. Mash them with your favourite herbs and spices, form into pat­ties and pan-fry in a lit­tle oil. Or use them in Chi­ne­ses­tyle soups.

Tofu

A 100g por­tion of firm tofu con­tains 160mg of cal­cium, while the same amount of soft tofu has 80mg. Pre­pared from soya beans, tofu can be steamed and eaten alone with a sim­ple blend of oys­ter sauce and se­same oil to give it some flavour, or added to stir-fries and noo­dle or rice dishes.

Green Leafy Veg­eta­bles

Spinach, broc­coli, kale, bok choy, col­lard greens, arugula (rocket) and mus­tard greens have high con­cen­tra­tions of cal­cium, says Sheeba. A 100g serv­ing of cooked col­lard greens con­tains about 210mg – one-fifth of the rec­om­mended daily amount. The same amount of raw kale con­tains about 205mg of cal­cium.

You can pre­pare th­ese veg­eta­bles ac­cord­ing to your taste, but do not over­cook them. They are more nu­tri­tious raw or lightly steamed. Serve them in stir-fries or sal­ads, and go easy on the sauces and dress­ings to en­sure a healthy dish.

Sea­weed

Sea­weed is an ex­cel­lent source of cal­cium, says Sheeba. Many types are avail­able, from dulse and kelp to kombu, nori and wakame. Nori sheets are great for snack­ing on and are typ­i­cally used in sushi rolls and wraps. Kombu and wakame are de­li­cious in soups, while dulse and kelp add good flavour to sal­ads.

Dried Fruits

Dried apri­cots, dates and prunes con­tain good amounts of cal­cium, but not as much as dried figs — a 100g por­tion has 162mg of the min­eral. Try dried fruits alone as a snack (but be­ware their high su­gar con­cen­tra­tion) or add them to desserts, stews and even cur­ries.

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