Although rice is poor in calcium, enriched rice milk has the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk. A glass contains about 300 mg of calcium, or 30% of the recommended daily intake!
Health benefits of calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body!
First, calcium is essential for strong bone and teeth. Calcium deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Moreover, calcium is involved in many functions of the human body. For instance, calcium is necessary for muscle movement and flexibility, blood vessel contraction and dilation, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
In fact, getting adequate amounts of calcium may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis, and even certain cancers.[1,2]
How much calcium do we need?
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults.
Children older than 13 years and teenagers require at least 1,300 mg of calcium a day, due to bone growth. Also, women older than 50 years should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium a day, due to increased risk of osteoporosis.
Is rice a good dietary source of calcium?
Rice contains negligible amounts of calcium. White rice contains only 2 mg of calcium per 100 g, while brown and wild rice contain 3 mg per 100 g. So, a serving of rice contains no more than 5 mg of calcium.
Only enriched rice may contain significant amounts of calcium. Enriched rice contains up to 60 mg of calcium per serving. This dose is 6% of the recommended daily intake.
Moreover, rice bread contains calcium as well. It contains about 69 mg of calcium per 100 g, or 19 mg per slice. Just for comparison, a slice of whole-wheat bread contains around 50 mg of calcium!
Other rice products like rice crackers contain even less calcium.
Therefore, rice doesn’t significantly help to meet the recommended daily intake of calcium.
Is rice milk rich in calcium?
Rice milk is naturally poor in calcium. It contains negligible amounts. So, companies fortify rice milk with synthetic calcium as well as other minerals and vitamins.
Most enriched rice milks contain about 30% of the recommended daily intake of calcium per serving! Hence, a glass of enriched rice milk contains the same dose of calcium as a glass of cow’s milk!
Furthermore, rice milks are usually enriched with vitamin B12; a vitamin that many people are deficient in.
Most noteworthy, rice milk, as well as the other plant-based milks, has a smaller footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions, as compared to cow’s milk. It requires less water and land.
For instance, every liter of cow’s milk uses 8.9 square meters per year. In contrast, oat milk requires 0.8, soy milk 0.7, almond milk 0.5 and rice milk requires only 0.3 square meters per year! Water use is much higher for cow’s milk as well. A liter of cow’s milk requires 628 liters of water. A liter of rice milk requires only 270 liters of water. Oat and soy milk require even lower water.
You’ll find a wide variety of rice and other plant-based milks on Amazon.
Other foods high in calcium
Certainly, dairy is rich in calcium. It’s the main source of calcium for many people. But, we shouldn’t depend on it to meet our daily requirements. Dairy is rich in saturated fats. High amounts of this type of fat might be dangerous. They’ve been linked to elevated cholesterol, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Therefore, we better get calcium from plant-based foods high in calcium. Actually, beans, fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are excellent dietary sources of calcium.
For instance, apricots (containing 13 mg of calcium per 100 g), pineapples (13 mg), papayas (20 mg), kiwis (34 mg), oranges (40 mg), blackberries (29 mg), raspberries (12 mg), and strawberries (16 mg) contain decent amounts of calcium.
Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are high in calcium as well. Kale contains more than 250 mg of calcium per 100 g, while spinach contains about 100 mg.
If you want to boost your calcium intake, you could consume 1-2 tsp of moringa powder daily. In fact, moringa powder is among the richest foods in calcium. It contains up to 2,700 mg of calcium per 100 g! Just for comparison, cow’s milk contains only 113 mg of calcium per 100g. A small serving of moringa (2 tsp) provides 70 mg of calcium! Moringa is a true superfood!
You’ll find a wide variety of moringa supplements and powders on iHerb.
Moreover, you can increase the absorption of calcium, eating foods with vitamin C. Vitamin C significantly increases calcium absorption.
Consuming high amounts of calcium from food is safe. But, there is a maximum safe dose for supplements.