Health & Fitness

10 Surprising Sources of Calcium


With the constantly rotating “super” foods and nutrition fads, it can be easy to forget some of our most fundamental dietary needs, like calcium—especially if you’re a woman.

“If your calcium levels aren’t high enough, your body will go ahead and remove it from your bones, leaving them weak and brittle and putting you at higher risk for bone conditions such as osteoporosis,” explains Valerie Agyeman, a registered dietitian (RD) and founder of Flourish Heights, a nutrition website and platform. By the time we reach menopause, this is particularly important because estrogen levels start dropping, which can lead to some bone loss.

Agyeman sees a lot of calcium deficiencies in her clients. “Most women I counsel do not get enough calcium in their eating routines,” she says, which she attributes to lower dairy intakes due to lactose intolerance, allergies, or just personal preferences.

The good news is, getting calcium into your diet is easier than you think. Even if you’re allergic to or don’t like dairy, there are diverse and delicious sources for you to load up on this essential mineral. Here are 10 to dig in to.

Fortified Plant-Based Milks

almond milk

You’re no doubt familiar with the many alternatives to cow’s milk, from almond to soy to oat. Not only are these great options for lactose-intolerance or dairy allergies, but they’re often fortified with vitamins and minerals. Almond Breeze, for example, is an excellent source of calcium, with 50% more calcium than dairy milk.


green vegetables

You just can’t go wrong with an abundance of leafy greens in your diet. When it comes to calcium, collard greens, bok choy, and kale all pack a punch. Of the 1,000 milligrams (mg) recommended a day, a cup of each provides 232, 105, and 53 mg, respectively. Spinach, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, turnip greens, and broccoli are other great sources.


bowl of mixed beans

In addition to beans being good for your heart (Really — They help lower blood pressure!), most varieties are also excellent sources of calcium. Cannellini beans contain as much as 62 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Red kidney beans, navy beans, and pinto beans are also calcium-rich options.



Just like beans, lentils are nutrient-rich, not to mention inexpensive and versatile. Red lentils make excellent soup; green lentils work well in salads, and you can make lentil loaf with brown lentils. No matter the color, one cup offers 67 mg of calcium.


sesame seeds

Don’t discount them because of their teeny size. Sesame and chia seeds are actually calcium powerhouses. Sesame seeds, which can be sprinkled on salads and stir fries, offer 60 mg per 100 grams. Chia seeds—which add a thicker and creamier texture to your morning smoothie and oatmeal—have 255 mg per 100 grams.


canned sardines

Add some shrimp or canned salmon or sardines to your salad, and you could be getting as much as 30% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). With edible bones, sardines provide an extra boost of calcium.


bowl of tofu

Because soybeans are naturally rich in calcium, tofu, which is made from soybeans, is too. Different brands and densities (firm versus soft) will offer different calcium contents, but have as much as 176 mg in 100 grams. Feeling snacky? Edamame, immature soybeans, are another calcium-rich option.


bowl of almonds

Calcium intake isn’t limited to meals. Your daily snack is a great way to sneak in part of your RDI. Almonds are the highest among nuts, with more than 7% of your RDI in one ounce, but walnuts and hazelnuts are tasty options, too, with around 3% of your RDI per ounce.


bowl of figs

A sweet treat with potassium, vitamin K, and, you guessed it, calcium. Figs—two dried ones have 26 mg—are good in everything from oatmeal to salads, and yummy to snack on, too. If you’re a fruit lover, also look to oranges and rhubarb for calcium, which have 6 mg and 12 mg comparatively.

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