8 Calcium Rich Foods

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  • Current research shows that calcium supplements, long recommended for osteoporosis prevention, may actually promote the condition. On the contrary, a diet rich in calcium will definitely help to keep your bones strong. Fortunately, the foods highest in that crucial mineral are delicious and versatile.

    Here's a shopping list for making sure the score on your bone density test is terrific!

  • Avocados Dubbed the "alligator pear," this powerhouse treat is often cited as the healthiest of all fruits. In addition to plenty of calcium, it packs vitamin K, fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, oleic acid to lower cholesterol, potassium to regulate blood pressure, folate for heart health, carotenoid, and vitamin E.

    Guacamole anyone?
  • Broccoli Along with calcium, this cruciferous veggie is loaded with vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium. It's also fiber rich yet low in carbs. Recent research showed that the green wonder is high in indole-3-carbinol, which may guard against cancer. Not only that, but the sulforaphane in broccoli may be a cancer fighter.

    You can crunch on raw broccoli as a crudité, but you'll actually get extra nutritional value if you steam your spears so that the nutrients break down and become more available. Finally, flash frozen broccoli may be better for you than fresh if the latter has been sitting out for a while and losing antioxidants while waiting to be plunked into your shopping cart.
  • Almonds One ounce of almonds – about 20 of them -- has as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk. These tasty nuts also have another bone-protective nutrient: magnesium. Other components are vitamin E and phytochemicals that may help protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer, plus unsaturated fats. So grab a handful of these super healthy nuts. Your bones will thank you!
  • Calcium Fortified Cereal Read the labels and choose cereals that have added calcium. You'll be getting your morning dose of fiber to keep your digestive track in good shape and you'll also be ingesting just that much more of the bone-happy mineral we all need.
  • Canned Sardines This saltwater fish, when canned with its soft bones, is a nutritional bonanza. It's a great source of calcium as well as the all-important omega-3 fatty acids. Not only that, but you'll be getting excellent protein. If the fishy taste and smell put you off, try squeezing on some lime juice after heating the sardines in the microwave.
  • Yogurt Yogurt is not only a great source of calcium but it also has probiotics, a type of digestive bacteria that may ward off all kinds of diseases including cancer. Be sure to look for the words “contains live and active cultures” on the label. Bonus: Those little miracle microbes can combat constipation, indigestion, and irritable bowel syndrome. Oh, and yogurt has plenty of vitamins and minerals. Pick a flavor, add some fruit, and enjoy!
  • Cheese Cheese is very high in calcium and low in lactose content. This makes it an ideal dairy food for anyone who is lactose intolerant. Tip: The more aged the cheese, the lower the lactose content. Cheese is also rich in vitamin-B, which helps with the absorption and distribution of calcium in your body. In addition, cheese has conjugated linoleic acid and sphingolipids that may help prevent cancer.

    Did we mention that it's delicious alone or in recipes, and that it comes in myriad varieties? Almost too good to be true!
  • Beans These protein-packed legumes, a staple in vegetarian diets and Tex Mex cuisine, are superb sources of calcium. Because the protein in beans is incomplete, team them with brown rice, it's the perfect partner both for the palate and the amino acid content. Or if you're five-alarm chili fan, add some meat to the mix.

    Who says healthy eating can't be fun?