The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. The recommended intake is 1000 mg a day for adults and up to 1200 mg for women who are pregnant. Ninety-nine percent of the body's calcium is stored in bones and teeth for structural support. Calcium is needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system. A constant level of calcium is maintained in body fluid and tissues so that these vital body processes function efficiently. It is recommended that you get the calcium you need from foods before turning to dietary supplements. And with all of the calcium rich foods available to us, it is hard to believe that many Canadians do not meet the daily recommended intake. While dairy products are the most obvious source of calcium, there are other foods that can provide your daily dose...here is a comprehensive list of your top sources of calcium: Yogurt: Plain, nonfat yogurt is the top source of calcium. Eight ounces provide 452 mg of calcium and 127 calories. Low-fat plain yogurt (415 mg of calcium and 143 calories) and fruit yogurt (345 mg of calcium and 232 calories) are not far behind. Cheese: Some people stay clear of cheese due to its high fat content. However, cheese should not be avoided and can be incorporated into a healthy diet. The top source of calcium? Romano cheese with 452 mg of calcium and 165 calories per 1.5 ounces. Other good sources of calcium include: Swiss cheese, part-skim ricotta, pasteurized process American cheese, provolone, part-skim mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Fortified Cereal: Fortified ready-to-eat cereals can provide from 236 to 1043 mg of calcium. Collard Greens and Spinach: A half-cup of your favorite greens has 178 mg of calcium and 31 calories. A lot of bang for your buck if you ask me! Milk and Soy Milk: One cup of skim milk has 306 mg of calcium and 83 calories. A chocolate lover? There is good news as Chocolate milk is also an excellent source of calcium with 288 mg for one cup. Almonds: A small handful of nuts (about 24 nuts) has 70 mg of calcium. Sardines in oil (with bones): Not on the top of everyones list, but a great source of calcium if you are a fan! 3 oz has about 370 mg. Salmon: Tired of your tuna sandwiches? Switch it up for canned pink salmon which offers 181 mg of calcium per 3 ounces.