Our bodies need calcium to build and maintain strong bones. But calcium doesn’t work alone. It can bind to other minerals, and nutrients in our bodies. Some food-substances, called “anti-nutrients” even reduce or eliminate your body’s ability to absorb nutrients like calcium. One of these “anti-nutrient” food-substances is oxalate. You may have already heard of oxalate and the benefits of a low-oxalate diet to maintain healthy kidneys. So it is important to achieve and maintain a healthy ratio between calcium and oxalate for optimal calcium absorption and kidney health. That means that increasing calcium in your diet isn’t just good for your bones. Along with a low-oxalate diet, getting more calcium is also another great way to maintain your kidney health and overall nutrition. Here are five simple ways to increase calcium in your diet every day.
5 Strategies To Increase Calcium
- Consume more vitamin D. One of vitamin D’s primary jobs is to help us absorb calcium. That means if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your body won’t be able to truly take advantage of the calcium you’re eating. Besides going out and soaking up the sun, you can also boost your vitamin D intake by consuming low oxalate foods such as orange juice, salmon, tuna, Portobello mushrooms, and egg yolks.
- Eat calcium-packed fruit. An easy way to get more calcium in your daily diet is to eat more calcium-packed, low-oxalate fruit, such as oranges, lemons, bananas, and blackcurrants. You can focus on these fruits rather than traditional calcium-packed vegetables (think spinach and other leafy greens), which also tend to be dense in oxalate.
- Add calcium-fortified foods to your grocery list. If you want to increase calcium without substantially changing your diet, turn to calcium-fortified foods. These are staples such as juices, cereals, and breads that have simply had extra calcium added to them. When you’re shopping, just look for the little label stating that the food has been fortified with calcium – it’s that easy. Be sure to check to see which of the calcium-fortified foods are also low oxalate.
- Stock up on dairy products. This is the tried and true method for getting more calcium. You probably already know that you can look to milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products to get calcium. But what you may not have realized is that these foods are also typically very low in oxalate, making them an especially smart option for anyone hoping to increase their calcium intake.
- Start your morning with a latte. Coffee is a great vehicle for dairy that is low in oxalate. Just don’t forget to add in non-fat milk! A Starbucks Grande Latte has 40% of your daily calcium intake. On top of that, it has 12 grams of protein and 15% of your daily vitamin A intake. So go ahead, enjoy your morning caffeine boost.