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Calcium from Foods

Updated on February 9, 2013

Calcium is an important nutrient for strong bones. Calcium is found most abundantly in dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. Remember that you need to have enough vitamin D in order for your body to absorb calcium.

Dairy Products with Calcium

  • One cup of low-fat yogurt has 447 mg (45% DV) of calcium
  • One cup of 2%-fat cow milk has 297 mg (30% DV) of calcium
  • One ounce of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese has 183 mg (18% DV) of calcium

Unless otherwise stated, the data is from whfoods.com with "mg" meaning milligrams. And DV meaning the percent Daily Value as based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling". It is calculated based on a 1000 mg daily value of calcium. But remember that the Recommended Daily Allowance is often too low for optimum health.

Problems with Dairy

Most adults can not drink milk due to lactose-intolerance. After childhood at around age 5, many people no longer have the lactase enzyme that is needed to break down the lactose sugar that are in the milk. This is common and some considers this a "normal condition". It is estimated that 75% of the world's adult is somewhat lactose-intolerance. [reference]

On the other hand, other people can not drink milk for a different separate reason. They are allergic to casein, a protein found in milk.[reference]

So although dairy contain good calcium, there are drawbacks to consuming dairy. Let's see if we can find other better foods for our calcium needs.

Since many people can have problems with dairy, let's see where else we can get our calcium from.

Calcium in Seafood

For people who can not drink milk, seafood is another rich source of calcium.

Calcium are in some sea foods ...

  • A 3.25 ounce can of sardines can have 351 mg (35% DV) of calcium -- this is as much calcium as a cup of milk.
  • A dozen boiled mussels have 240 mg (24% DV) of calcium.[4]
  • A dozen raw oysters have 228 mg (23% DV) of calcium.[4]
  • Half a dozen boiled prawns have 180 mg (18% DV) of calcium.[4]
  • 100 grams of canned salmon has 90 mg (9% DV) of calcium.


Calcium Foods For People Who Can Not Drink Milk

For vegetarians, there are still other food that contain calcium.

Certain vegetables have calcium...

  • One cup of boiled spinach has 245 mg (24.5% DV) of calcium
  • One cup of cooked mustard greens has 10.3% DV of calcium.
  • One cup of boiled kale has 94 mg (9.4% DV) of calcium
  • One cup of steamed broccoli has 75 mg (7.5% DV) of calcium
  • One cup of boiled green beans has 57 mg (6% DV) of calcium

And other foods such as ...

  • 4 ounces of raw tofu has 100 mg (10% DV) of calcium

Some fruits ...

  • One orange contains 52 mg (5% DV) of calcium

Some nuts and seeds ...

  • 10 almonds has 37.5 mg (4% DV) of calcium.[4]
  • Sesame seeds (0.25 cup has 35% DV of calcium) has a surprisingly high concentration of calcium.[5]

Other sources of calcium

If you don't drink dairy, you can also get calcium from fortified cereals and supplements. If you get calcium supplements, try to get ones with vitamin D3 added. Your body requires vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. The primary source of vitamin D is the sun. Vitamin D is the most important vitamin to take.

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