With all of the milk commercials we’ve seen in our lifetimes, it’s easy to think that milk products are the only viable source of calcium in your diet.
The reality is there are many different practical food sources that are calcium-rich. And eating a variety of them just makes good sense, as each provides a unique combination of vitamins and minerals. It’s more likely you’ll have all your nutritional needs met when you include a wide range of wholesome foods.
In the list below, the amounts of calcium, listed in milligrams (mg) are what’s found in 100 grams of each item.
Daily Value (DV) is a metric developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are shown to help consumers determine the accurate level of nutrients in a standard serving of food, in relation to their approximate requirement for it.
With this in mind here is a list you’ll find useful in sourcing and obtaining appropriate amounts of calcium. It starts with the tenth most calcium rich and ends with the #1 most calcium concentrated food. Let the countdown begin!
47 mg (5% DV) Broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, means “the flowering top of a cabbage” and is the food that might make #1 spot on a list of “Foods Most Likely To Start A Child Rebellion”. Yet there’s a reason it was foisted on all of us when kids as our moms knew that all the calcium inside would help us grow tall.
(77 mg (8% DV) Though Asia, Ethiopia and West Africa all lay claim to introducing the world to this calcium rich flowering plant, its name derives from Nigeria.
It’s known also as ladies’ fingers, bhindi, bamia – but it may be most famous due of its presence in a famous Cajun dish: gumbo.
8. Chinese Cabbage
(Pak Choi, Bok Choy) 105 mg (11% DV) No doubt Asian mothers struggle as much as westerners to get their kids to eat these vegetables (a subspecies of the turnip) that are distant cousins (within the same genus) as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. But they too know how many important nutrients they provide, especially the calcium.
7. Dark Leafy Greens
120 mg (12% DV) is the average of kale, dandelion greens, turnip greens, arugula, and collards and watercress. A not too shabby calcium rating, and especially appealing when you consider all the other things dark leafy greens literally bring to the table: chlorophyll, which alkalinizes the blood, fiber, phytonutrients and more.
6. Low Fat Milk & Yogurt
125 mg (13% DV) The calcium in milk is reported to absorb at a higher rate than most all other foods, and it provides a decent amount of protein too. However, we strongly advise to source out milk from organic, pesticide and hormone free and free range committed dairy producers if you do indeed wish to “Get Milk”, as the mass produced stuff may do as much harm as help.
264 mg (26% DV) The almond is both a species of tree, and the seed of the same tree native to South Asia and the Middle East. Highly valued as they’re delicious and rich with calcium, the pollination of California’s almonds is the biggest managed pollination event in the world, with almost one million hives (that’s almost half of all US beehives) brought in February to the almond groves.
4. Fortified Soy Products/ Tofu
350 mg (35% DV) Tofu originated in China 2,000 years ago and has stayed popular for the calcium and protein it affordably provides. High in iron, low in fat and calories tofu is very versatile yet, the men in your household should eat sparingly as soy contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones that mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. Warning: only use certified organic soy products as the majority of soy in the USA is genetically modified and labeling laws do not require notification of the same!
3. Canned Fish
383 mg (38% DV) Always a good item to keep around (because it keeps) just in case a big meteor hits us and knocks out our infrastructure, canned fish is both very affordable and provides lots of calcium, protein and omega 3s.
2. Sesame Seeds
457 mg (45% DV) Long a staple of the middle east, sesame seeds lead all the plants we know of in terms of calcium content. Sesame seeds are the feature ingredient in tahini sauce, which if you have not yet discovered drizzled over salads yet, well you’re in for a calcium rich and delicious treat!
And drumroll please, for the richest calcium food we could find…
1. Low Fat Cheese!
961 mg (95% DV) To our knowledge, low fat cheese is at the top of the calcium podium, and wins the Oscar for all the bone building goodness it provides. Delicious and full of protein too, but still, as with other dairy, do try to buy cheese only from farmers who raise hormone-free, grass fed, free range cattle.
There you have it. Now you see you don’t have to only ‘get milk,’ but can get these several other foods in your pantry in order to build and maintain your bones to their maximum!