In addition to being the most prevalent mineral in the body, calcium is crucial for maintaining good health.
Calcium is abundant in your body. 99% of this mineral is present in your bones and teeth. Your soft tissues and blood contain the remaining 1%.To develop and maintain healthy bones, you must consume calcium-rich foods.
Additionally, healthy cell activity depends on this mineral. Your body needs calcium to maintain normal blood pressure, hormone levels, muscle and neuron function, and cell-to-cell communication.
This calcium foods chart will help you reach the recommended daily intake of calcium.
Recommended Calcium Intakes
Your diet is the most acceptable source of calcium for you. Your age and gender can affect how much calcium you require. Children, postmenopausal women, and people over 70 generally need more calcium.
The amount of calcium your body can absorb decreases with age. The following table gives the amount of calcium required by the body according to age.
|0-6 months||200 mg|
|7-12 months||260 mg|
|1-3 years||700 mg|
|4-8 years||1,000 mg|
|9-13 years||1,300 mg|
|14-18 years||1,300 mg|
|19-50 years||1,000 mg|
|51-70 years (men)||1,000 mg|
|51-70 years (women)||1,200 mg|
|71+ years||1,200 mg|
Why You Need Calcium
Almost all bodily functions depend on calcium. Your body cannot manufacture its calcium. The best way for your body to absorb calcium is through diet, but you must also take supplements. Some drugs, including antacids, contain calcium as well.
Nutritionally, calcium is essential for:
- Cellular Function
Your body maintains a particular quantity of calcium in your blood. It helps to keep your cellular processes going. And if the blood calcium level falls, your body starts taking calcium from your bones.
- Bone Health
Your body keeps breaking and rebuilding bones all the time. Before you reach age 30, your body builds more bones than breaking them down. After 30 years of age, this process reverses and causes osteoporosis.
So it’s essential to consume more calcium to prevent bones from becoming fragile. Your body will have to draw less calcium from your bones.
- Blood Pressure Control
Calcium helps blood vessels constrict and relax. So it is necessary to maintain normal blood pressure. According to recent research, calcium must come from food rather than supplements to reap this effect.
- Decreased Risk of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are more likely to form in those who consume oxalates in many plant-based foods. Calcium reduces the absorption of oxalates in the body. As a result, it helps in preventing kidney stones from developing.
Also read: Sodium Foods list
Foods That Are Rich in Calcium
Although the calcium content in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt is exceptionally high, many calcium sources are not dairy-based. Here are some calcium-rich foods, most of which are vegan. Refer to the calcium foods chart for the amount of calcium these foods offer per serving.
- Dairy Products
One of the best calcium sources is milk and dairy products. A few servings daily can provide you with all the calcium required. It is crucial to remember that the maximum amounts of calcium the body can absorb are in dairy products with reduced fat content.
Lactose-free products are an option if you have lactose intolerance. Products labeled lactose-free still have high calcium levels in food despite being lactose-free.
|Vanilla yogurt (low-fat)||8 ounces||388 mg|
|Milk, 1%||1 cup||310 mg|
|Ricotta cheese, whole milk||1/2 cup||289 mg|
|Greek yogurt, plain (low-fat)||8 ounces||261 mg|
|Cottage cheese, 2% fat||1 cup||227 mg|
|Cheddar cheese||1 ounce||200 mg|
- Vegetables & Fruits
Broccoli and leafy greens are high-calcium foods. Collard greens, spinach, and cooked kale are all excellent sources of calcium.
Fruits typically don’t contain much calcium. Fruits rich in calcium include oranges, papayas, and dried or fresh figs.
|Collard greens, cooked||1 cup||268 mg|
|Spinach, cooked||1 cup||245 mg|
|Bok choy, cooked||1 cup||158 mg|
|Kale, cooked||1 cup||177 mg|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||62 mg|
|Figs, Dried or Fresh||5 pieces||135 mg|
|Oranges||1 Whole||55 mg|
- Protein-rich Foods
Some proteins, like tofu, have significant calcium content. Canned sardines and salmon are excellent calcium sources because they typically contain bones. Vitamin D, also included in salmon, aids the body’s absorption of calcium.
|Tofu, prepared with calcium sulfate||1/2 cup||434 mg|
|Sardines, canned, with bones||3 ounces||324 mg|
|Black beans, canned||1 cup||239 mg|
|Salmon, canned, with bones||3 ounces||181 mg|
- Fortified Calcium Sources
Fruit juices, bread, and ready-to-eat cereals are among the many items fortified with calcium. Given that they are dietary products, these foods are excellent providers of calcium. Fortified orange juice contains more calcium than a glass of milk.
|Orange juice, calcium-fortified||1 cup||349 mg|
|Soy milk, fortified||1 cup||299 mg|
|Breakfast Cereal, fortified||1 serving||100 mg|
|Bread, calcium-fortified||1 slice||31 mg|
- Beans, Nuts & Seeds
|Almond milk, unsweetened||1 cup||482 mg|
|Almonds||¼ cup||92 mg|
|Sesame seeds||1 tablespoon||88 mg|
|Chia seeds||1 tablespoon||78 mg|
|Tahini (sesame butter or paste)||1 tablespoon||64 mg|
|Soya beans, dry roasted||½ cup||230 mg|
Tips for people with lactose intolerance
In lactose intolerance, the body cannot digest lactose, a form of sugar found in cow’s milk. It happens if your body lacks enough lactase enzyme, which is necessary for breaking down and digesting lactose.
If you are lactose intolerant, you can also choose from this calcium food list:
- Lactose-free dairy products.
- Calcium-fortified drinks such as soy milk, almond milk, or fruit juice.
- Non Dairy foods include leafy greens, canned salmon with bones, almonds, and tofu fortified with calcium sulfate.
Calcium is a vital mineral that is involved in many facets of health.
We sometimes disregard our daily calcium intake even though calcium serves several essential purposes.
The following are the main points to bear in mind:
- Older persons should include high-calcium foods in each meal to preserve strong bones and lower their risk of fractures.
- Numerous high-calcium food varieties can accommodate different lifestyles (dairy-free, lactose-free, etc.)
- Several things influence the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- See our high-calcium food chart for a list of healthy sources of high-calcium foods!