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Calcium-Rich Foods: 11 Healthy Sources of Calcium

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What gives your backbone its power? What stimulates your muscles contract and relax while doing those squats with weights? And what carries that quick reflex signal when you touch something piping hot? The answer to all these questions is just one – calcium. This article will tell you about the importance of calcium and also list various calcium-rich foods.

What Is Calcium?

Calcium is one of the richest and essential minerals found in our body. It supports the entire skeletal system and muscles, aids the functioning of the nervous system, and is a vital component of the circulatory system.

Without it, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K do not get absorbed in your body. This imbalance triggers a chain of disorders and deficiencies – which could mean bad news.

What Is The Role Of Calcium In Your Body?

  • Calcium has the following functions:
  • Keeps the bones and teeth healthy and prevents osteoporosis.
  • Helps in the smooth circulation of blood throughout your body.
  • Ensures that the endocrine system runs without hassles.
  • Maintains the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which is important for flexibility.
  • A chief component of cell signaling, transport, and communication.
  • Essential for blood clotting.
  • Activates most of the enzymes and hormones to their active forms.
  • Assists the movement of sperm to the egg during fertilization.
  • Reduces risks during pregnancy.
  • Regulates the heart rate and hypertension.
  • Controls cholesterol and lipid absorption in the intestines.
  • Prevents and treats cancer.
  • Helps in weight management.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
  0–6 months* 200 mg  200 mg
 7–12 months*  260 mg 260 mg
1–3 years  700 mg 700 mg
4–8 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
 9–13 years  1,300 mg  1,300 mg
 14–18 years  1,300 mg 1,300 mg  1,300 mg 1,300 mg
 19–50 years  1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
 51–70 years  1,000 mg  1,200 mg
71+ years  1,200 mg 1,200 mg


An average adult woman (19-50 years) has to take 1,000 mg of calcium daily, girls (14-18 years) need 1,300 mg, and older, post-menopausal women need about 1,200 mg.

The tolerable upper intake levels (UL) of a supplement are the highest amount that most people can take safely. For calcium, it is as given below:

Age IU
0-12 months Not possible to establish
 Children & Adolescents
 1-3 yr 2,500 mg/day
 4-8 yr  2,500 mg/day
 9-13 yr  2,500 mg/day
 14-18 yr 2,500 mg/day
 Adults 19+ Years
 Men 2,500 mg/day
 Women 2,500 mg/day
 14-18 yr  2,500 mg/day
 19-50 yr  2,500 mg/day
14-18 yr 2,500 mg/day
19-50 yr  2,500 mg/day

Top 11 Calcium-Rich Foods

Vegetables Rich In Calcium

1. Cruciferous Vegetables (Cabbages)

The Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) family members are known to have high levels of calcium. Following is the list of widely used and available vegetables of this family with their calcium content.

Vegetable Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Broccoli   42.8 mg
  Chinese cabbage (bok choy or pak choi) 73.5 mg
 Cauliflower 22.0 mg
 Cabbages  427 mg
 Radish 29.0 mg
 Wasabi 166 mg
 Horseradish 30 mg
Kohlrabi 32.4 mg

2. Legumes And Lentils

Beans and pulses are excellent sources of calcium, protein, iron, zinc, potassium, folate, magnesium, and fiber.

Vegetable Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Kidney beans 153 mg
 Lentils  108 mg
  Chickpeas 210 mg
Mung beans  273 mg
 Lima beans (raw)  144 mg
 Winged beans (raw)  810 mg
 Soybeans (raw) 515 mg


These are available in canned, dry, and fresh forms. You can cook them in multiple ways. A few of them are listed here with the calcium content:

3. Green Leafy Vegetables

A few names that pop up on reading this would be spinach, amaranth, collard greens, mint, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and watercress. These leaves contain a lot of vitamins, iron, and oxalates, along with calcium. Given below is the amount of calcium per cup of serving:

Vegetable Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
Spinach 29.7 mg
Kale  90.5 mg
Amaranth  60.2 mg
Swiss Chard 18.4 mg
Collard Greens  52.2 mg
 Watercress 40.8 mg

Fruits And Seeds Rich In Calcium

4. Oranges And Tangerines

In addition to vitamin C, oranges, tangerines, and kumquats also contain high levels of calcium and potassium.

One cup (200 g) of peeled tangerine and orange has about 72.2 mg calcium and 1328 IU of vitamin A.

5. Dry Fruits

Dry fruits are packed with nutrients like vitamins, good fats, proteins, and fiber and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. Let’s look at the calcium content in a cup of these dry fruits:

Dry Fruits Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Dried Apricots  71.5 mg
Figs (Dried) 241 mg
 Dates  57.3 mg
Raisins  82.5 mg
Almonds 251 mg

6. Berries

Along with their intense, distinct color, these wild fruits offer you lots of calcium and vitamins per serving. Following is their calcium content:

Berry Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Blackberry 41.8 mg
Raspberry 30.7 mg
Mulberry 54.6 mg
 Strawberry  24.3 mg
 Goji Berry 28 mg
 Kiwi (Chinese Gooseberry)  60.2 mg

7. Seeds

Not only fruits but some seeds too contain exceptionally high levels of calcium. Incorporating them into your daily diet will help you inch closer to the 1,000-1,200 mg mark. Given below is the amount of calcium in one cup of these seeds:

Seeds Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Sesame Seeds 1404 mg
Chia Seeds  177 mg
Flaxseeds 428 mg
 Quinoa 79.9 mg
 Amaranth Seeds 116 mg
 Teff Seeds  374 mg

Dairy Sources Of Calcium

Note: It is a common misconception among many that milk and dairy products are the best sources of calcium. Sadly, it is untrue. The form of calcium available in milk and milk products is not readily absorbed by the body. Also, vitamin A share you get from milk weakens your bones when taken in excess.

It is generally safer to opt for non-dairy sources of calcium – because the aim is to increase the absorption of calcium and not just doubling its intake. If you are vegan or lactose-intolerant, explore other milk variants like soy milk almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk.

8. Milk

Milk is one of the most common and cheapest sources of the mineral. A cup of whole milk has about 276 mg of calcium along with 249 IU of vitamin A and 97.6 IU of vitamin D. Although it has 7.9 g of total fat, whole milk is your go-to for most calcium deficit cases.

There are many fortified options available in the market, such as:

  • Non-soy milk (imitation): A cup contains 200 mg calcium, 495 IU vitamin A, and 4.9 g total fat.
  • Low-fat, protein fortified milk: A cup contains 349 mg calcium, 499 IU vitamin A, and 2.9 g total fat.
  • Skim milk with non-fat milk solids and vitamin A: A cup contains 316 mg calcium, 497 IU vitamin A, and 0.6 g total fat.

9. Cheese

This versatile ingredient is my personal favorite and has a lot to offer – protein, vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, and, of course, calcium. There are above 100 varieties of cheese used around the world. Let me list down a few of them with their calcium content here:

Cheese Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
 Cheddars  952 mg
 Camembert  954 mg
  Feta  739 mg
 Fontina 726 mg
 Mozzarella  566 mg
 Parmesan (grated) 1109 mg
 Swiss 1044 mg
 Port de Salut  858 mg
 Ricotta 509 mg
 Roquefort 563 mg


This proves that you can dig into loads of cheese on a daily basis.
A word of advice: Make an informed decision and create a balanced diet using these cheese varieties.

10. Yogurt

Whole milk yogurt is another calcium booster that has vitamins A and C, proteins, potassium, phosphorus, and good fats.

One cup (250g) of yogurt has about 296 mg of calcium and 243 IU of vitamin A.

It not only provides nutrients but is also rich in gut-friendly microbes like Lactobacillus and Streptococcus that help in digestion, aids the production of certain vitamins, and prevent diarrhea.

Other Sources

11. Eggs, Meat, And Seafood Rich In Calcium

For all the meat and fish lovers, this is good news!
Listed below are the top scorers that are highest in calcium, enabling you to make healthier choices:

Food Calcium Content (Per Cup of Serving)
Salmon (pink) 20.7 mg
 Sardines (canned)  569 mg
  Eggs (raw)  129 mg
 Clams  104 mg
 Lobster (raw) 102 mg

More About Calcium Sources

  • Whey protein, which is used in weight-loss diets, is rich in calcium.
  • Rhubarb, the fruit-and-vegetable has high levels of calcium, along with vitamin K, dietary fiber, and prebiotic microbes.
  • Muesli, quinoa, oats, and corn flakes are some cereals that are good sources of calcium.
  • Edamame and kelp are important in Asian cuisine because of their high calcium levels.

Now that you have all the above options to choose from, it is going to be fun and easier creating a calcium-rich balanced meal plan.

Calcium Supplements You Can Trust

Check the product authenticity symbols, serving size, instructions to use, and calcium per serving before choosing the right supplement. Also, make sure you consult a doctor.

What Happens If There’s Too Much Calcium In Your Body?

  • Having too much calcium in the body can:
  • Lead to constipation
  • Interfere with the metabolism of iron and zinc
  • Cause kidney stones
  • Increase the risk of developing prostate cancer and heart diseases
  • Reduce the absorption of certain antibiotics, thyroid-stimulating drugs, etc.

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