Calcium sources

Good calcium sources include milk and other dairy products, kale, kelp, tofu, canned fish with bones, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflower and soybeans. Fortified foods such as fruit juices, breads and cereals are also common sources. Calcium in hard water and some mineral waters may be important dietary sources for some people.

Calcium from milk and milk products is absorbed more easily than that from most vegetables, with the exception of dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, turnip and mustard greens. A 1990 study showed that more calcium is absorbed from kale than from milk.

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach contain large amounts of calcium but also contain oxalic acid which binds calcium and prevents it from being absorbed. Insoluble fiber, such as that found in wheat bran, reduces calcium absorption; but soluble fiber, such as that found in psyllium and fruit pectins, does not seem to affect absorption.

Calcium sourcesWhile dairy products are good sources of calcium, there is concern that their protein content can increase the loss of calcium from bone. Results from the ongoing Nurses Health Study suggest that drinking lots of milk and other dairy foods high in calcium does not protect older women against bone fractures. Researchers analyzed the diets of over 77,000 participants in the study and looked at the rates of bone fractures. Results showed that women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day had around a 45 per cent increased risk of hip fracture and a 5 per cent increased risk of forearm fracture compared to women who drank one glass or less per week. There was also no drop in risk with intake of calcium from other dairy foods.

In another study done in 1995 at the University of California at Berkeley, researchers assessed the effect of calcium supplementation and drinking milk on pre-eclampsia in over 9000 pregnant women. Results showed that women who drank two glasses of milk per day had the lowest risk. The risk for those drinking one glass of milk per day was similarly low but the risk for those drinking less than one glass of milk per day was substantially higher. Women drinking three or more glasses of milk per day also showed increased risk as did those drinking four or more glasses per day.

Calcium sourcesA varied diet which includes nondairy sources of calcium is likely to be more beneficial in protecting against osteoporosis and other disorders of calcium deficiency.

 

Food

Amount

Calcium (mg)

Milk, evaporated

1 cup

658

Salmon, canned

1/2 cup

484

Sardines, canned, tomato sauce

5 sardines

455

Milk, dry, nonfat

1/4 cup

377

Fruit yogurt

1 tub

338

Milk, nonfat

1 cup

297

Milk, whole

1 cup

291

Crab meat, canned

1 cup, drained

136

Figs, dried

5 figs

135

Peanuts

1/2 cup

134

Baked beans, canned

1 cup

127

Brazil nuts

1/2 cup

123

Kale, cooked

1 cup

94

Walnuts

1 cup, shelled

94

Almonds, blanched

1/4 cup

89

Milk chocolate

1 bar

84

Tahini paste

1 tbsp

64

Soybeans

1 cup

55

Broccoli, cooked

1/2cup

36

Kelp, raw

2 tbsp

17

Honeydew melon

1 cup, diced

10

Cauliflower

1/2cup

10

 
 
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Calcium
Calcium health
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Calcium recommended daily
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Calcium supplement
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Other Minerals:

Boron
Calcium
Chromium
Cobalt
Copper
Electrolytes
Potassium
Sodium
Chloride
Fluoride
Iodine
Magnesium
Manganese
Molybdenum
Nickel
Phosphorus
Selenium
Silicon
Sulfur
Vanadium
Zinc