Calcium Rich Nuts that Help Maintain Bone Density

Calcium is a mineral that the human body needs, and it is found in many foods. The popular sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk and cheese; green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and okra; tofu; soya beans; fish such as sardines and pilchards; and of course, nuts! 

Why does the body need calcium? Humans need calcium in order to maintain strong bones and teeth, as well as carry out important bodily functions. Over 99 percent of calcium in our body is found in our bones and teeth, supporting their hardness and rigidity, and calcium accounts for 1 to 2 percent of human body weight in adults.

Calcium ensures the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, so that they can relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Calcium also ensures normal clotting of blood and movement of blood throughout the body to help release hormones and enzymes.

How much calcium does the human body need? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question as the requirement changes based on your age and sex. According to the National Institutes of Health the average daily recommended amount of calcium is as following:

Age

Recommended amount (in mg)

0-6 months

200

7-12 months

260

1-3 years

700

4-8 years

1000

9-13 years

1300

14-18 years

1300

19-50 years

1000

51-70 years (Men)

1000

51-70 years (Women)

1200

71+ years

1200

Pregnant and breastfeeding teens

1300

Pregnant and breastfeeding adults

1000

Almonds are the richest nut source of calcium

Almonds are a very nutrient dense nut, if not the most nutrient dense nut, and they contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and phosphorus. Almonds are also a very rich source of calcium, providing 75 mg of the mineral for a serving of 30 grams. That is more than any other nut.

Almonds provide a multitude of benefits, ranging from helping in weight management and lowering cholesterol to mitigating cancer risk and helping with blood sugar levels. Thanks to its very rich calcium content, almonds may also help in maintaining optimum bone density if they are incorporated in a healthy balanced diet.

Hazelnuts are a rich source of calcium

Hazelnuts are close second to almonds with respect to the calcium content, containing 56 mg of the mineral in a serving of 30 g. This brown-ish colored nut make for a tasty and healthy snack and provide overall health benefits for the consumer. Apart from encouraging healthy bowel movements, effective management of weight, protection against cell damage and lowering of cholesterol, hazelnuts can help in maintaining bone density when added to a healthy balanced diet, thanks to their rich calcium content.

Walnuts are a rich source of calcium

Walnuts are another good option for a nut source of calcium. They too contain 28 mg of calcium in a serving of 30 g. Walnuts contain high levels of unsaturated fat and are a popular option for consumers looking to manage their weight. Consuming walnuts can considerably decrease appetite and hunger, and even trigger a region in the brain that helps people stay away from gluttonous food such as fries and cake, as this 2018 study pointed out.

Let’s look in further detail and breakdown the reasons for the need of calcium in the human body.

Managing bone health

As it has been established earlier, calcium plays a major role in the overall skeletal system health since 99% of calcium in the human body is found in teeth and bones.

Growing children and teens, and elderly women and pregnant teens require the most amount of calcium. Growing children need high amounts of calcium as it is pertinent to the development of their bones. This is because once they stop growing, around when they reach 19 years of age, calcium helps in the maintenance of the bones and a reduction in the loss of bone density, which happens with age. Pregnant women need high amounts of calcium as their body will apportion vitamins and minerals to their unborn child.  Women who have experienced menopause lose bone density at a rapid rate, and run the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular system

Calcium is important for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. It is the catalyst for normal clotting of the blood and proper flow of blood in the body. Calcium is also responsible for muscle health around the blood vessels as it helps relax those muscles ensuring smooth functioning.

Conclusion

Calcium’s importance is not restricted to only the human bone’s health as they help maintain blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels too. According to the National Institutes of Health, calcium supplements or diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of Preeclampsia, a serious medical condition that affects pregnant women. Pregnant women who have preeclampsia develop high kidney issues and high blood pressure that leads to protein spilling into the urine. The NIH states that it is the leading cause of death in pregnant women and their newborn babies.

All said and done, incorporating calcium to a healthy and balanced diet may produce many benefits including effective management of bone density. It is recommended getting adequate calcium through food sources although it is also available as a supplement. Word of caution, however, as supplements should be considered only on the advice of doctor for safe consumption.