Eight Sources of Calcium

Sara Suchy Sep 27th, 2012 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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Calcium is an indispensable nutrient to a healthy body. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends at least 1,000 milligrams per day for an adult. Here are eight calcium-rich food easily added to any diet.

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Dairy products
Dairy products

This one is obvious.  Dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese are all high in calcium.  Opt for low-fat versions of dairy whenever possible and remember to eat in moderation.  Dairy is also a wonderful source of fat and cholesterol. 

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Seafood
Seafood

Several types of fish and seafood are good sources of calcium. 

Atlantic Sardienes (3 oz.) = 325 mgs. calcium
Salmon (3 oz.) = 181 mgs.
Atlantic Perch (3 oz.) = 116 mgs.
Blue Crab, canned (3 oz.) = 86 mgs.
Clams, canned (3 oz.) = 78 mgs.
Rainbow trout (3 oz.) = 73 mgs.

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Soy
Soy

Soy bean, tofu and soy milk can all be very good sources of calcium.

Soy beverage, calcium fortified (1 cup) = 368 mgs. calcium
Tofu, firm (1/2 cup) = 253 mgs.
Soybeans, green, cooked (1/2 cup) = 130 mgs.

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Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens

Along with packing a lovely Iron punch, many dark, leafy greens are a wonderful and very low-calorie source of calcium.

Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup) = 130 mgs. calcium
Turnip greens, cooked (1/2 cup) = 124 mgs.
Kale, cooked (1/2 cup) = 90 mgs.
Beet greens, cooked (1/2 cup) = 82 mgs.

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Beans, etc.
Beans, etc.

Beans can be a low-cost, vegetarian staple in any healthy diet.  Not only are they high in calcium, they also are a wonderful source of protein and fiber.

White beans, canned (1/2 cup) = 96 mgs. calcium
Cowpeas, cooked (1/2 cup) = 106 mgs.
Soybeans, mature, cooked (1/2 cup) = 88 mgs.
Okra, cooked (1/2 cup) = 88 mgs.

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Fortified cereal
Fortified cereal

Many cereals on the grocery shelves are now calcium-fortified, meaning calcium has been added to them.  The specific amount of calcium will vary depending on the cereal so it is important to check the nutrition information label, but most cereals will offer between 236-1043 mgs. of calcium per ounce of cereal. 

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Odds and ends
Odds and ends

Here are a few lesser known foods with high amounts of calicum and a few surprising calcium sources:

Collards, cooked (1/2 cup) = 178 mgs. calcium
Molasses, blackstrap (1 Tbsp.) = 172 mgs.
Oatmeal, instant and fortified (1 packet) = 99-110 mgs.
Pak-choi (Chinese cabbage), cooked from fresh (1/2 cup) = 79 mgs.
Dandelion greens, cooked from fresh (1/2 cup) = 74 mgs.

 

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Supplements
Supplements

An ideal daily diet will include the recommended amount of all essential nutrients directly from food.  But, this is not always possible.  If you struggle to get the recommended daily amount of calcium or are at high risk for osteoporosis  it may be helpful to add a calcium supplement to your diet.  If you lack several nutrients in your diet, add a multivitamin.

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A word about vitamin D
A word about vitamin D

When calcium is recommended or spoken about it is often in tandem with Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is another essential nutrient that promotes calcium absorption in the body and aids bone growth and strength by itself as well.  Many calcium fortified foods and calcium supplements have Vitamin D added to them and Vitamin D is found naturally in foods like cod, salmon, swordfish, tuna, eggs and cheese.