Did you know most of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth?
What is calcium?
Calcium is a mineral vital to health and the most abundant one found in your body. You might recognize this nutrient from dairy milk advertisements. If that’s the case, then you know the mineral is important for building strong, healthy bones. Beyond that, calcium is important for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and heart beating. These are some reasons why getting enough calcium through the food you eat is so important. If your body doesn’t get enough calcium it can lead to weak bones, low bone density, osteoporosis, and broken bones.
How much calcium do I need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium is different depending on your age and sex. The average adult needs about 1,000 mg per day. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or in menopause your needs are a little higher. Choosing foods that are high in calcium is a great way to meet this need. Keep reading to find out some of these calcium-rich foods.
Food Item, Serving Size, Calcium (mg)
Skim milk, 8 oz, 302
1% milk, 8 oz, 300
Whole, 8 oz, 300
2% milk, 8 oz, 250
Plain fat-free (with added milk solids), 8 oz, 452
Plain low-fat (with added milk solids), 8 oz, 448
Fruit, low-fat, 8 oz, 345
Frozen, vanilla, soft serve, 1/2 cup, 103
Ricotta cheese, part skim, 1/2 cup, 300
Cottage cheese, 1% low-fat, 1 cup, 251
Cheddar cheese, 1 oz, 200
American cheese, 1 oz, 200
Ricotta cheese, whole milk, 1/2 cup, 200
Muenster cheese, 1 oz, 150
Mozzarella cheese, part skim, 1 oz, 146
Parmesan cheese, grated, 1 tbsp, 42
Fish and Shellfish
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, including bones, 3.75 oz, 351
Salmon, pink, canned, including bones, 3 oz, 212
Shrimp, canned, 6 oz, 164
Fruit and Vegetables
Orange Juice, fortified with calcium, 8 oz, 347
Collards, cooked, drained without salt, from raw, 1 cup, 268
Turnip greens, cooked, drained, from raw (leaves and stems), 1 cup, 197
Soybeans, mature, boiled, without salt, 1 cup, 175
Sunflower seeds, dried, 1 cup, 109
Almonds, roasted, 1 oz, 82
Tofu*, 100 g, 76
Bok Choy, raw (Chinese cabbage), 1 cup, 73
Broccoli, cooked, drained from raw, without salt, 1 cup, 62
Broccoli, cooked, drained with salt, from frozen, 1 cup, 60
Orange (navel). 1 whole, 52
Dried figs, 3 pieces, 50
Sesame seeds, kernels, toasted, 1 oz, 37
*The calcium content of tofu may vary depending on processing methods. Tofu processed with calcium salts can have as much as 300 mg (milligrams) for every 4 ounces. Often, the label or the manufacturer can provide more specific information. Source: USDA FoodData Central 2020
Try experimenting with different recipes using the calcium-rich foods listed above to keep your meals interesting. For example, one day have a tofu scramble and the next day enjoy shrimp scampi. Your bones and teeth will thank you!
Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines the three pillars of WholeBody Trust™: Mind Trust, Hunger Trust and Food Trust™.