Calcium is one of the most important minerals that all humans and living organisms need. It is also the most abundant mineral in the body and plays a crucial role in bone health and muscle movement.
Most of the calcium in the body are found in the bones and teeth, and the remaining is found in blood, muscle, and other tissues. For the body to perform its vital daily functions, the body works to keep a steady amount of calcium in the blood and tissues.
When the body lacks calcium, all parts of the body are affected. This can result in muscle cramps, fatigue, weak nails, slower hair growth, Osteoporosis, and fragile, thin skin. Calcium is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. So, calcium deficiencies can lead to seizures in people. Calcium deficiency can be avoided by regularly consuming foods that are rich in calcium.
Calcium is found naturally in many foods, and food manufacturers can also add it to certain products. There are also many foods rich in calcium in Nigeria.
It is recommended that an average adult takes in 1,000 mg of calcium per day. The amount increases to 1,200 mg per day for men and women over the age of 50, while pregnant women and teenagers need 1,300 mg of calcium per day.
This article provides you with the top 10 Nigerian foods that are rich in calcium.
1. Ogbono soup
Ogbono is one of the most healthy soups in Nigeria. It is also one of the most delicious and widely-eaten soups in the country. Ogbono soup is a thick soup prepared with ogbono seeds, which are obtained from a fruit locally known as African Bush Mango (Irvigna gabonesis).
One medical study found out that ogbono seeds were high in calcium. There are many health benefits of ogbono, such as supporting weight loss and digestive health.
Sardines are canned mackerel fish that are added to foods. They are also popular in Nigeria and are used in a variety of dishes. Sardines are loaded with calcium because of their edible bones. One can of sardines contains about 280 mg of calcium, which is about 27% of the daily value.
In addition, sardines are high in protein, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can support the health of your heart, brain, and skin.
Beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are also readily available in Nigeria and can be used in making many meals. Many varieties of beans are packed with calcium. Black-eyed beans or cowpea is a popular variety of beans in Nigeria. One cup of black-eyed beans contains about 24 mg of calcium.
Beans are also high in fiber, protein, and micronutrients, including iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, and potassium.
There are many healthy nuts in Nigeria that contain calcium. However, almonds are among the highest in calcium. One handful of almonds might contain about 60 mg of calcium. Almonds are also high in nutrients like healthy fats, protein, and magnesium and can help with weight loss.
5. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is a food made from cocoa beans, which come from the plant Theobroma cacao. Organic or pure cocoa powder is widely sold and consumed in many parts of Nigeria.
Just 100 grams of cocoa powder contains about 128mg of calcium, almost 13% of the daily value.
Cocoa powder is rich in theobromine, a compound that helps to reduce inflammation and can protect you from diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They are also abundant in manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
6. Fura da nono
Fura da nono is a local gruel in Northern Nigeria that is made from millet balls (fura) and cow milk (nono). The milk is usually one that has been fermented and is usually very thick.
Milk is typically one of the best and most widely available sources of calcium available. However, in Nigeria, fura da nono is one of the best ways to consume milk and get more calcium.
One cup of cow’s milk has 306–325 mg, while millet also contains calcium. The calcium in dairy is also absorbed very well by the body.
It also contains protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are needed for maintaining bone density and preventing Osteoporosis.
7. Nigerian leafy greens
A lot of Nigerian leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of calcium. These leafy greens include fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugu), oha leaves, scent leaves, bitter leaves, and spinach.
Calcium can also be gotten from many animal sources. In Nigeria, a lot of animal food sources are consumed. Some of the best animal meats that are in calcium in Nigeria are goat meat, which has about 17 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Also, rabbit meat, which contains about 18 mg of calcium per 100 grams, and snail meat, which also has a decent amount of calcium.
Cabbages are a healthy and versatile food filled with many amazing nutrients, including calcium. It is one of the most affordable sources of calcium and can be easily incorporated into any meal. Just 100 grams of cabbage contains about 40 mg of calcium, 4% of the daily value.
Cabbages are also good sources of folate and vitamin K, which are nutrients that also help build strong bones.
Millet is starchy cereal grain that belongs to the Poaceae family, also known as the grass family. It is cultivated in many parts of Nigeria and used in making a plethora of loc foods in Nigeria, such as akamu, fura da nono, millet soup, and kunu aya.
Millet is one of the grains that provides the most amount of calcium. Finger millet, in particular, contains the highest calcium content of all cereal grains. One cooked cup of finger millet contains 130mg of calcium, 13% of the daily value.
Calcium is an important role that is useful in many bodily functions. It is especially crucial for maintaining strong bones and healthy teeth. There are many Nigerian foods rich in calcium which have listed above. Other Nigerian foods that are rich in calcium include Greek yogurt, kuli kuli, ewedu, akpu, locust beans, and parfait.
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