Saturday, July 13, 2024

Top Nigerian Foods Rich in Calcium for Strong Bones

Last Updated on November 20, 2023


Calcium is essential for strong bones, as it promotes bone growth and prevents osteoporosis.

Nigerian cuisine is diverse, incorporating a range of flavorful and nutritious dishes.

Traditional Nigerian Foods Rich in Calcium

  1. Ugwu (Pumpkin Leaf) Soup: A popular Nigerian dish, Ugwu soup is a rich source of calcium.

  2. Moin Moin (Bean Pudding): Made from black-eyed peas, this dish is packed with calcium.

  3. Efo Riro (Vegetable Soup): Prepared with various green vegetables, Efo Riro is high in calcium.

  4. Okra Soup: A delicious and nutritious Nigerian staple, Okra soup contains significant amounts of calcium.

  5. Ogbono Soup: This thick, savory soup made from ground Ogbono seeds is rich in calcium.

  6. Ora/Oha Soup: Traditionally made with Ora or Oha leaves, this soup is an excellent source of calcium.

  7. Nigerian Pounded Yam: Made from pounded yam, this staple food contains calcium for strong bones.

  8. Egusi Soup: Made from ground melon seeds, Egusi soup is a calcium-rich dish enjoyed in Nigeria.

  9. Nigerian Spinach Stew: This flavorful stew made from spinach leaves is a great source of calcium.

Incorporating these calcium-rich Nigerian foods into your diet can help you maintain strong and healthy bones.

Read: The Role of Minerals in Traditional Nigerian Recipes

Nigerian Foods High in Calcium

Egusi Soup

  1. Ingredients and preparation: Egusi soup is made with ground melon seeds, palm oil, vegetables, and various spices.

  2. Calcium content in the main ingredients (egusi, pumpkin leaves): Egusi seeds contain a good amount of calcium, while pumpkin leaves are also rich in this mineral.

  3. Health benefits for bone strength: Regular consumption of egusi soup can contribute to strong and healthy bones due to its calcium-rich ingredients.

Ewedu Soup

  1. Ingredients and preparation: Ewedu soup is made from jute leaves, potash, and water, and is often served with a variety of other dishes.

  2. Calcium content in the main ingredients (jute leaves): Jute leaves, the primary ingredient in ewedu soup, contain a good amount of calcium.

  3. Health benefits for bone strength: Including ewedu soup in your diet can supply your body with calcium, which supports bone health and strength.

Okra Soup

  1. Ingredients and preparation: Okra soup is prepared using okra, palm oil, meat or fish, and spices.

  2. Calcium content in the main ingredients (okra, cow bone): Okra is a rich source of calcium, while adding cow bone to the soup further enhances its calcium content.

  3. Health benefits for bone strength: Regularly consuming okra soup can contribute to strong bones and overall bone health due to its calcium-rich nature.

Moin Moin

  1. Ingredients and preparation: Moin moin, a steamed bean pudding, is made with black-eyed peas, spices, and other flavorings.

  2. Calcium content in the main ingredients (black-eyed peas): Black-eyed peas, the main component of moin moin, contain a notable amount of calcium.

  3. Health benefits for bone strength: By incorporating moin moin into your diet, you can increase your calcium intake and promote strong bones.

Garden Egg Sauce

  1. Ingredients and preparation: Garden egg sauce is made using garden eggs (eggplants), tomatoes, onions, and various seasonings.

  2. Calcium content in the main ingredients (garden eggs): Garden eggs, the star ingredient of this sauce, contain calcium that contributes to bone strength.

  3. Health benefits for bone strength: Regular consumption of garden egg sauce can help maintain and improve bone health due to its calcium content.

Read: Nigerian Seafoods: A Dive into Mineral-Rich Choices

Top Nigerian Foods Rich in Calcium for Strong Bones

Other Sources of Calcium in Nigerian Cuisine

Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Nigerian cuisine offers various calcium sources beyond dairy, highlighting the importance of diverse options for this vital mineral.

In this section, we will explore some of the other sources of calcium that can be found in traditional Nigerian foods.

Canned fish (mackerel, sardines)

Canned fish, such as mackerel and sardines, are not only delicious but also a great source of calcium.

Most Nigerian markets offer these fish, allowing easy incorporation into dishes for a calcium intake boost.

  1. Canned fish, particularly mackerel and sardines, are rich in calcium. A single serving can provide a significant amount of this essential mineral.

  2. One way to incorporate canned fish into your meals is by making fish stew. Simply add the fish to a pot of stew with vegetables and spices for a nutritious and calcium-rich meal.

  3. You can also add canned fish to your favorite soups, such as egusi or okra soup, for an extra dose of calcium. Just drain the fish from the can and add it during the cooking process.

Ground crayfish

In addition to canned fish, ground crayfish is another excellent source of calcium commonly used in Nigerian cuisine.

This versatile ingredient adds a unique flavor to dishes while providing a boost of calcium.

  1. Ground crayfish contains a good amount of calcium, making it a great addition to your diet for strong bones and teeth.

  2. In Nigerian dishes, ground crayfish is often used as a flavor enhancer in soups, stews, and sauces. It adds a delicious, rich taste to the dish while increasing its nutritional value.

  3. You can incorporate ground crayfish into a variety of dishes, such as Nigerian jollof rice or vegetable soups, to reap the benefits of its calcium content.

Dairy products often link to calcium, yet Nigerian cuisine presents diverse options for non-dairy consumers or preferences.

Mackerel, sardines, and ground crayfish, rich in calcium, easily blend into traditional Nigerian dishes for bone strength.

Incorporate these foods into your diet for optimal calcium intake, ensuring strong bones and overall bone health.

Read: Discover the Power of Minerals in Nigerian Cuisine

Tips for Maximizing Calcium Absorption

Achieving strong and healthy bones goes beyond just consuming calcium-rich foods.

It is also essential to ensure that our bodies can effectively absorb the calcium. Here are some tips to maximize calcium absorption:

Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin D sources

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption as it helps our bodies to effectively utilize calcium.

It is important to consume foods rich in vitamin D along with calcium-rich foods.

Some excellent vitamin D sources include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.

Avoid excessive consumption of oxalate-rich foods

Oxalate is a compound found in certain foods that can bind with calcium and prevent its absorption.

Balance the intake of these nutritious foods, avoiding their complete exclusion from your diet for optimal health.

Some examples of oxalate-rich foods are spinach, rhubarb, and beet greens.

Consume calcium with meals for better absorption

Timing matters when it comes to calcium absorption.

It is recommended to consume calcium-rich foods during meals rather than on an empty stomach.

This is because the presence of food in the stomach triggers the release of stomach acid, which promotes calcium absorption.

Additionally, spreading calcium intake throughout the day also aids absorption.

Consider dietary supplements if needed

If you struggle to meet your daily calcium requirements through diet alone, dietary supplements can be an option.

Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate supplement dosage and type for your specific needs.

Remember, supplements should complement a healthy diet and not replace it entirely.

Boost your body’s calcium absorption by adopting these tips, ensuring robust and healthy bones in the process.

Read: Sulfur Sources: Uncovering its Presence in Nigerian Foods


Calcium is pivotal for bone health, ensuring solidity and resilience, making it vital in our daily intake.

Traditional Nigerian cuisine offers abundant calcium sources like Ewedu, Ugwu, Okazi, and Nchanwu leaves, fostering bone strength.

Incorporating these calcium-rich foods into your diet is key for robust bone structure and overall well-being.

The significance of calcium in fortifying bones can’t be overstated. It’s the cornerstone of bone density and strength.

Nigeria’s diverse culinary heritage presents an array of calcium-packed delicacies. From Egusi soup to Moin Moin, options abound.

Don’t just view these foods as culinary delights; regard them as allies in fortifying your skeletal system.

Make a conscious effort to infuse these ingredients into your meals, ensuring your body reaps their bone-nourishing benefits.

In conjunction with regular exercise and adequate vitamin D intake, a calcium-rich diet aids in bone density maintenance.

Remember, it’s not solely about consuming calcium; it’s also about its absorption. Pair these foods with vitamin D sources for optimal utilization.

So, let your plate become a canvas of calcium-rich Nigerian fare, painting a picture of resilient bone health.

Embrace these traditional foods not only for their taste but also for the strength they provide to your bones.

Let’s commit to nurturing our bodies, fortifying our bones, and relishing the richness of Nigerian cuisine for robust skeletal health.

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