For the longest time we were made to believe that dairy/milk is a source of calcium and protein and not having enough of it will lead to calcium and protein deficiency. India and US are the highest consumers of dairy, yet osteoporosis is at its highest today.
Some of the safest foods rich in calcium include sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, ragi or nachni, rajma, coconut, spinach, beet greens and parsley. Kale, collard greens, Swiss chard and dark green lettuce are rich in calcium too, but they are not local to our country.
Greenpeas, black beans, pumpkin seeds, sattu and peanuts. Also, the combination matters a lot. A combination of lentils/dals/pulses with cereal make a complete protein with a complete amino acid profile. This is why dishes like dal-rice, khichdi, rajma-rice make a protein-rich meal. For non-vegetarian, organic and free-range eggs, farm fresh mercury-free fish, organic and antibiotic free chicken are good options.
PROTEIN AND CALCIUM DON’T WORK ALONE!
It is important to concentrate on foods that will make calcium more boi-available to your cells in the body than focusing on the foods with high calcium levels. Firstly, we must invest in populating our gut with good bacteria and simultaneously eliminate food/habits that deplete its levels.
Secondly, it is essential to have the right amount of vitamin D3. In cases of vitamin D deficiency, one is unable to absorb enough calcium. This is bad news for people with arthritis, since an inability in an increased production of parathyroid hormone (PTH) which efficiently removes calcium from the bones and joints to maintain the blood calcium level in the body. Apart from vitamin D, our body also needs the right level of magnesium and vitamin K for calcium to get absorbed the right way.