We hear about the benefits of calcium all the time, but sometimes it takes more than that to really understand why it's such a crucial part of our diets. A few months ago, I broke my shoulder blade in a freak dog-walking accident (it was as embarrassing as it sounds). After ignoring the pain for weeks, I found myself at the orthopedic surgeon's office in the company of motorcycle riders and athletes with similar injuries. One of the first things my orthopedist recommended was boosting my calcium intake––pronto. We've heard it over and over, but this vital mineral is crucial for strengthening bones and preventing injuries. Surprisingly, calcium also plays a role in everything from heart health to maintaining proper body weight, so it's important that you get enough of it every single day.
Sources of calcium
One of the best, cheapest, and most bioavailable sources of calcium is eggshells. Yes, regular old eggshells. And with nothing more than a coffee grinder and a few clean shells, you can whip up your own calcium powder in less than an hour. So go ahead and give your smoothies (or juice, soup, or morning elixir) a boost with this DIY eggshell calcium powder.
I've been on a smoothie kick for breakfast lately. It's one of the few meals of the day that I feel like I can load up on fruits and veggies without having to force it. Not only do I just feel healthier when I eat them, but I love how smoothies make an awesome base for adding other vitamins and minerals to my diet.
Calcium is one of those minerals that's important for bodily processes but can be tricky to get enough of the old-fashioned way. It's found in leafy greens and broccoli, but you need to eat a lot of them to see any noticeable benefits. And supplementation isn't always a perfect solution, either. Over the counter calcium supplements can be rough on the stomach and difficult to absorb.
Whole-food sources of calcium, on the other hand, are a totally different story.
Why get your calcium from eggshells?
Eggshells are made almost entirely of calcium carbonate, which is exactly what makes up our nails, teeth, and bones. They're also loaded with protein, magnesium, selenium, strontium, and other compounds that are said to be good for bones and joints. Because they're a whole food (not a man-made supplement), it's easier for our bodies to absorb and assimilate the nutrients found in eggshells. And the best part is that they're 100% free and zero-waste. Simply save your old shells (I like to freeze mine until I have enough saved up), and you can help cut down on food waste in your kitchen.
How to make eggshell calcium powder
If you have a small family or don't usually eat a lot of eggs in one sitting, I recommend stockpiling your shells over time. You'll be sanitizing the shells before making your calcium powder, so you can simply put the leftover eggshells in a container in the refrigerator while your build up a stash (make sure to rinse them out first). If left in the fridge for fewer than five days, I have never had any issues with the shells starting to smell. If you need more time to accrue your shells, simply store them in the freezer until you have enough.
Then, simply toss a half a teaspoon's worth of calcium powder in your morning smoothie to give it a nutritional boost.
- 10-12 eggshells
- Medium saucepan
- Baking sheet
- Coffee or spice grinder
Once you've saved up 10 to 12 shells, place them in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Boil them for 15 minutes to sterilize completely.
Spread the shells on a baking sheet. Bake at 225F for 20 minutes to dry them out.
Using a coffee or spice grinder, grind the shells to a very fine powder. You can also use a blender for this, but I find that a coffee grinder makes the finest powder, so you don't have any large eggshell pieces in your smoothie. A finer powder also mixes better with other drinks, like coffee or juice.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of your calcium powder to your daily smoothie for about 400-500 mg of calcium (feel free to tweak your daily intake depending on your specific needs and recommendations from a healthcare provider). Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry cupboard for up to a month.