I remember how my teachers and parents kept stressing on the importance of dairy products for the overall growth. As a kid, I never really realized why they kept saying that again and again? Not until I found myself teaching the same to my younger brother.
Calcium is a mineral that is needed for a variety of bodily functions. It helps in building strong teeth, nails and bones, aids in nerve movements, muscle contraction and relaxation, and is also good for hormonal and enzymatic secretions in the human body.
Calcium deficiency can lead to loss of muscle movement, nervous disorders, convulsions, loss of appetite, lethargies too. Calcium is therefore very much important in our daily diet. Without the presence of a proper and adequate amount of calcium, there can be a number of health problems. However, an excess of calcium can also be harmful. It may lead to kidney stones, soft tissue calcification, and even heart strokes.
Why Is Calcium Important?
Calcium is not produced by our bodies. Hence, it is important to include it in our diet. This essential nutrient is really required by our body. So we thought of discussing calcium-rich foods today. But before that, let us first check out how calcium helps us in 5 different ways:
- Calcium is essential for the proper development of the bones and teeth. It is very important for children as well as adults. Up till the early 20’s, there is a high rate of development of the bones. During the 30’s it’s important to infuse one’s diet with calcium supplements and calcium-rich foods as the process of bone development slows down.
- It has been proved in recent years that calcium can actually help you stay slim by aiding in weight loss. So, infusing your diet with calcium enriched foods will help you stay in shape. Calcium does not let you store up fat. Rather it helps fat to get burned and keeps you fit. Isn’t this a good reason to have more food with calcium?
- It is important, especially for women, to take proper amounts of calcium and Vitamin D because the lack of it can cause hormonal imbalance and generate PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms.
- Recent studies have shown that adequate amount of calcium intake in the diet may prevent cancer. Good amounts of calcium-enriched food intake can help you prevent breast cancer, colorectal cancer and also ovarian cancer.
- Most of the calcium intake is for the bones to be absorbed. However, a percentage of calcium plays a vital role in muscular and nervous functions too. This is because muscular and nervous contractions and relaxations actually help the heart to function and stay healthy. So, calcium actually helps your heart to stay healthy and can prevent chances of heart stroke.
We obviously know numerous food items out there contain a good amount of calcium. There are different sources of food that are rich in calcium. Dairy sources are the most well-known; calcium can also be derived from green leafy vegetables. It is mostly thought that vegetables are not the right source of calcium. However, there are a few greens that you are pretty familiar with which offer good amounts of calcium when eaten raw, blanched or cooked properly but not overdone. Fruits too contain calcium; oranges and nuts offer a fair amount of calcium too. And that is why we felt compelled to make a list of foods rich in calcium.
Top 42 Calcium-Rich Food Sources
Soy products like Soy beans (cooked), Tofu, Soy Milk (non fat) and Soy Milk (Unsweetened) are some of the best sources of calcium. A cup of cooked soybeans contains about 175mg of calcium. Soybeans are not just tasty but can be used in a lot of dishes. Tofu is a good food for people willing to stay slim and fit. While on a diet, you may combine your daily meals with tofu intake to infuse your diet with fair amounts of calcium.
Soy nuggets also fall in the list of calcium rich foods. You can infuse your daily dishes with soy nuggets to increase their quantity and the overall goodness of the food.
Okra is a very common vegetable. Did you know that a cup of properly cooked okra will give you about 175 milligrams of calcium? Thus, you can combine okra with your meals by serving it as a side dish alongside your non-vegetarian dishes like chicken or any type of meat. This will increase the nutritional value of your meal. However, overcooked okra will not give you enough calcium as boiled or properly cooked okra.
Almonds are a rich source of calcium. You can toss up your salads with a handful of these crunchy nuts and increase the nutritional value of your dish. You may roast them a bit with a pinch of salt and munch on them. About 100 grams of almonds gives you approximately 264 milligrams of your calcium requirement. You may combine almonds with your fish or meat too to give your dish a calcium boost. Almonds can often be combined with a glass of milk to give you the best amount and infusion of daily calcium. If you are a person who likes to workout, then this can be the best food rich in calcium to include in your diet.
Oranges are a rich source of calcium. You can eat them just like they are or you may try out various forms of fruit salads or infuse the fresh juice of oranges into cakes and smoothies. Just about half a cup full of oranges will give you approximately 50 milligrams of calcium.
Greens should always form a part of your regular diet. When it comes to spinach, we always remember how Popeye, the sailor used to eat it to become stronger. Spinach is a very good source of calcium. You can have spinach in your salads, in curries or even as soups. A cup of cooked spinach will give you about 250 milligrams of calcium. It’s high time to follow Popeye’s rules. Not just as salad or soups but spinach can be combined with various continental dishes too. Spinach can be combined into pasta dishes to give you a good boost of calcium and other nutrients.
Kelp is seaweed which can be combined with rice balls and eaten. It can also be eaten in other forms. If it is blanched or eaten raw, a cup of kelp will give you approximately 135 milligrams of calcium.
7. Blackstrap Molasses
Just a spoonful of blackstrap molasses has about 137 milligrams of calcium. These can be used to make highly sweetened food. If you have a sweet tooth, you can try using molasses for your sweet dishes in a proper quantity. However, if you suffer from diabetic problems, you should always avoid highly sweetened foods.
8. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds have a wide variety of usages in food. They can be roasted a bit and sprinkled over chicken or meat dishes. They can also be combined with vegetables because they have a very unique taste. They can also be used as a coating for various snacks. About ½ cup of sesame seeds will give you 500 milligrams of calcium. So, start using sesame seeds in your regular meals right away.
9. Brazil Nuts
Nuts are always tasty and crunchy. You can always eat a handful of nuts if you are not too much concerned about the calorie or oil content in them. About 10 Brazil nuts will give you 90 milligrams of calcium. Nuts are a rich source of various nutrients including calcium.
Celeries are very good sources of calcium. About two and a half cups will give you round about 85 milligrams of calcium. Celeries can be blanched, combined with brown bread and eaten as a snack or cooked as some other side dish for supper or dinner. Properly blanched celeries can be added to salads too.
One cup cooked Broccoli i.e. about 156 gm of Broccoli gives you about 63 milligrams of calcium. Broccolis are not just good sources of calcium but are very good for your health too. If you are on a diet, you must try to include broccoli in your meals. They will help you maintain your weight as well as give you your daily needed calcium boost. If you are on a diet, then broccoli is one vegetable that you must definitely eat.
Collards are a rich source of calcium. A cup of well-boiled collards contains about 355 milligrams of calcium.
Rhubarb is a very good source of calcium. A cup of cooked rhubarb contains about 345 milligrams of calcium.
14. Chinese Cabbage
Chinese cabbage or bok choy, when eaten raw in a salad, can give you about 104 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams.
Turnips are a rich source of calcium. About 100 grams of turnip greens generate roughly 190 milligrams of calcium.
This is a very good source of calcium. About 100 grams of watercress generates approximately 120 milligrams of calcium.
17. Green Snap Beans
In about 100 grams of raw green snap beans, you can get about 36 milligrams of calcium. These can be consumed in the form of vegetables, in soups or boiled. When cooked or boiled, 125 grams of green snap beans generate about 54 milligrams of calcium.
Sardines are a rich source of calcium. About 100 grams of canned sardines along with bones contain about 380 milligrams of calcium.
19. Pink Salmon
This is another fish rich in calcium content. You can always have shallow fried salmon for your lunch or dinner; they help you keep in shape too. In about 100 grams of canned pink salmon, you can get about 282 milligrams of calcium.
About 100 grams of anchovies can give you about 147 milligrams of calcium.
85 milligrams of canned shrimps contain about 123 milligrams of calcium.
A cup of canned crabs contains 123 milligrams of calcium.
These are a good source of calcium. You can always have berries for a fruit salad or combine them to make a berry smoothie. About 100 grams of blackberries contain about 32 milligrams of calcium.
Who doesn’t like strawberries? These are another good source of calcium. About 100 grams of strawberries contain about 15 milligrams of calcium.
Raspberries are the loved fruit of many. 100 grams of tasty raspberry will contain about 22 milligrams of calcium.
24. Milk And Milk Products
We obviously know that milk and milk products supply an enormous amount of calcium. No wonder we are always told to have a glass of milk every day. However, people who don’t like milk can have calcium from other milk products like cheese, butter, Curd, etc. Let’s see how much calcium we can get if we go the low-fat way:
a) Low-Fat Milk And Curd
About 100 grams of low fat milk contains about 125 milligrams of calcium.
b) Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese
This is a tasty and healthy source of calcium. You should, however, keep a check on cheese consumption while keeping your weight under control. However, a little amount is always good for health. About 100 grams of low-fat cheese will give you approximately 960 milligrams of calcium.
So, people on a diet can go for low-fat milk or milk products to maintain their diet and also get a nice calcium boost.
25. Poultry Products
Eggs are one of the most well-known sources of calcium. You must always include one egg daily in your diet.
A boiled egg contains about 50 milligrams of calcium.
Chicken, however, contains a low calcium content of 13 milligrams only per 100 grams of meat.
This tops the list of calcium rich fruits with a 100 gram yielding 215 mg calcium, serving 21.%5 of the recommended daily value.
27. Dried Figs
Dried uncooked figs give you a whopping 162 mg calcium, easily qualifying as the best fruit source of calcium. Figs are low in calories, with 100 g fresh figs providing only 74 calories, making them the perfect choice for those who are on the flab to fab regimen. Plus, you can reap the goodness of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and assorted antioxidants too.
While you get 88 mg calcium from 100 g small olives, the same quantity of jumbo ones yields 94 mg. Plus, olives are excellent sources of iron rendering about 18% of RDA. You also get 12% of recommended dietary fiber from the above-mentioned quantity of this fruit.
29. Zante Currants
This is rich in calories with 100 grams giving 283 calories. It tops the list of calcium-abundant fruits with 89 mg. It is also one of the richest fruit sources of potassium with this quantity giving 892 mg.
Opt for the dried jujubes to get about 8% of the recommended daily value of calcium, which means 100 grams of the dried version of these fruits give you 79 mg calcium. It is also a good source of other minerals, including iron and magnesium, with each meeting 9% of the daily values. Jujubes – the dried ones – are also good sources of vitamin C, reaping 21% of RDA.
This is widely used as a spice in India, rather than being eaten as a fruit. But it is a fruit that offers you quite a good dose of calcium. To be precise, 74 mg from 100 grams, meeting 7.4% of the recommended value. Plus you get 628 mg of potassium along with 20% of recommended daily value of dietary fiber.
Prunes are excellent energy rendering dried fruits, with 100 mg yielding 241 calories. A good natural source of dietary fiber, these fruits contain sodium in low levels. Dehydrated low moisture prunes give you 72 mg calcium, while the moisture-rich version yields 43 mg only.
Dried Medjool dates are a wonderful source of this bone-strengthening mineral along with being a potential powerhouse of energy. A 100 g serving of this Medjool variant gives you about 64 mg, making it to 6% of the daily recommended dose. You also get about 39 mg calcium per 100 grams of the Deglet Noor variant of dates.
A rich treat for the palette, these fruits offer you vitamin A and C, two essential vitamins with intense antioxidant powers, in admirable quantities. Plus, you get about 62 mg calcium from 100 g of this fruit.
Dehydrated apricots are better sources of calcium when compared to the fresh and dried ones, with about 61 mg obtained from 100 g. The fresh ones give you 13 mg while dried ones are still better with a decent 55 mg.
36. Prickly Pears
Get 58 mg of this bone and teeth strengthening mineral from 100 gram of this exotic fruit. Also known as red tunas, these fruits are known to safeguard you from various health conditions, including osteoporosis, hypertension, assorted cancer types, diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disorders. Being low in calories, this can be adopted by the weight conscious group to reap the calcium benefits.
37. European Black Currants
Also known as the quincy berries, these are god sources of vitamin A as well as antioxidants and flavonoids. A 100 g of these berries provide about 20% RDA of iron while giving you 55 mg calcium. These fresh currants are also a good source of other essential minerals, including potassium, manganese, and magnesium, all which are helpful in improving the rate of metabolism.
While seedless golden raisins give you 53 mg calcium per 100 grams, the other seedless variant is equally good with a 50 mg yield. The seeded variant gives you much less, 28 mg per 100 grams, to be precise.
39. Custard Apple
Also known as the Bullock’s Heart, the fleshy fruit with distinct black seeds contain about 40 mg calcium in 100 grams. A calorie-laden fruit, the presence of calcium makes it a good choice for pregnant and lactating women.
Choose the frozen, undiluted concentrate version of pineapples to get a good amount of calcium. Make sure your concentrate is free of sugar too. However, the fresh pineapple slices give you just 13 mg. So, if you love pineapples and want to include it as a source of calcium in your diet, then try to get hold of its concentrated form which gives you 39 mg of this essential nutrient.
A refreshing tropical fruit, Kiwi is also known as Chinese gooseberry. A rejuvenating fruit, Kiwi provides 34 mg of calcium per 100g serving. However, the Golden Kiwi gives you just 20 mg calcium for a 100-gram serving. Both the version give you about 60 calories per 100 grams.
While fresh litchis do not make it to this top 20 list of calcium abundant fruits, dried ones do have a place here. Despite being loaded with 277 calories per 100 grams, dried litchis give you 33 mg calcium. The dried ones are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, satisfying 18% of the daily value. Not to talk about vitamin C. You get 305% of the RDA. That is definitely a great reason to munch on some dried litchis, isn’t it?
Hope you liked our post highlighting the calcium-rich foods. Tell us how do you include calcium in your daily diet. Till then take care and live healthy!