Calcium works in tandem with potassium and vitamin D to play an essential role in building and maintaining strong bones (with a deficiency in calcium potentially resulting in osteoporosis or rickets), and is important in regulating muscle contractions in the body, which includes maintaining a regular heartbeat.
Calcium plays a role in clotting blood and is thought to manage blood pressure. It can also prevent some types of cancer, although the evidence supporting the latter two is still a little sparse.
The best way to appreciate the importance of calcium in the body, however, is to look at the symptoms of calcium deficiency which include muscle cramps, brittle bones, insomnia and delayed puberty in children. These symptoms are probably more a result of calcium being reduced and therefore not being able to work properly in tandem with other minerals, but it is still clear that calcium plays an essential role in maintaining good health.
This smoothie will give your body a much needed boost in this vital mineral, containing a number of foods that are extremely rich in it. To make the smoothie, add the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Be sure to use pitted dates.
Chia seeds are often added to smoothies to provide an extra boost of minerals and omega fatty acids. In fact, a 28g serving of chia seeds contains as much as 18% of the daily requirement of calcium, making it ideal for including in this calcium-rich smoothie. Health benefits associated with chia seeds include long-lasting energy, weight loss & management, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation.
Almonds lend a delicious marzipan flavour to the smoothie and come with a huge number of health benefits, including protecting cells from damage, regulating blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. One cup of whole almonds also contains around 38% of the recommended daily intake of calcium.
By adding collard greens to this smoothie you will be able to benefit from stronger bones, better digestion and improved quality of sleep. A one cup serving of collard greens contains around 5% of the daily allowance of calcium, as well as many other vital vitamins and minerals.
Nutrient dense kale will provide you with around 9% of your daily calcium needs per one cup serving. Regularly consuming it will also provide health benefits such as protecting cells from damage, reducing the risk of heart disease and reducing the effects of age-related macular degeneration.
Greek yogurt is nutritionally superior to regular yogurt and its thick and creamy texture makes it perfect for use in a smoothie. It also as a number of health benefits that include maintaining digestive health, building strong bones and lowering blood pressure.
Whether you love it or loathe it, there’s no denying that milk is one of the best sources of naturally available calcium around; a one cup serving of whole milk contains nearly a third of the daily requirement. The most commonly referred to health benefit of consuming milk is strong teeth and bones, but it also helps to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
They may not seem a likely source of calcium, but raisins happen to contain around 8% of the daily requirement per one cup serving. They also boast health benefits such as reducing the frequency of constipation by stimulating effective digestion, helping to treat anaemia and encouraging the proper absorption of nutrients gained from other foods.
Adding Medjool dates to this smoothie provides natural sweetness and small amounts of calcium; one average sized date contains around 2% of your daily requirements. They also contain a variety of health benefits including encouraging friendly bacteria in the gut, improving signs of anaemia, reduce symptoms of allergies and reducing the risk of stroke.
Cinnamon, almonds, banana, Greek yogurt, red apple, almond milk and flax seeds smoothie
Collard greens, water, carrot, strawberries, ginger, zucchini, cucumber and red apple smoothie
Kale, avocado, banana, guava, flax seeds, coconut water, sunflower seeds, spinach, beetroot and pistachio nuts smoothie