Top 10 Foods Highest in Calcium


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Calcium is necessary for the growth and maintenance of strong teeth and bones, nerve signaling, muscle contraction, and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in calcium can lead to numbness in fingers and toes, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms. Conversely, excess calcium (particularly from supplements) can lead to kidney stones, calcification of soft tissue, and increased risk of vascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. Most calcium is found in dark leafy greens and dairy. While there is some evidence that oxalates in greens can hinder calcium absorption, they are still a good source of calcium, and the calculated percent daily value (%DV) already takes into account absorption and bio-availability. For more, see the section on calcium absorption. The %DV for calcium is 1000mg. Below is a list of high calcium foods by common serving size, for more, see the extended lists of high calcium foods by nutrient density, and calcium rich foods.

#1: Dark Leafy Greens (Watercress)
Calcium in 100g (Raw)1 Cup Chopped (34g)10 Sprigs (25g)
120mg (12% DV)41mg (8% DV)30mg (3% DV)
Other Greens High in Calcium (%DV per cup, chopped, raw): Curly Kale (14%), Dandelion Greens (10%), Turnip Greens (10%), Arugula (6%), and Collards (5%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#2: Low Fat Cheese (Mozzarella Nonfat)
Calcium in 100g 1 Cup Shredded (113g)1 Ounce (28g)
961mg (95% DV)1086mg (109% DV)269mg (27% DV)
Other Cheeses High in Calcium (%DV per ounce): Low Fat Swiss (27%), Reduced Fat Parmesan (31%) and Cottage Cheese 2% Fat (2%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#3: Low Fat Milk & Yogurt (Nonfat Milk)
Calcium in 100g 1 Cup (245g)Per Fluid Ounce (31g)
125mg (13% DV)306mg (31% DV)39mg (4% DV)
Other Dairy High in Calcium (%DV per cup): Nonfat yogurt (49%) and Low Fat Yogurt (45%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#4: Chinese Cabbage (Pak Choi, Bok Choy)
Calcium in 100g (Raw)1 Cup Shredded (70g)1 Head (840g)
105mg (11% DV)74mg (7% DV)882mg (88% DV)
Other Cabbage (%DV per cup cooked): Green Cabbage Cooked (4% DV), Red Leaf Cabbage Cooked (3% DV). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#5: Fortified Soy Products (Tofu)
Calcium in 100g (Raw) 1/2 Cup Raw (124g)1/2 Cup Fried (124g)
350mg (35% DV)434mg (43% DV)1192mg (119% DV)
Other Soy Products High in Calcium (%DV per 1/2 cup): Nonfat Soy Milk with added calcium and vitamins A and D (13%) and Unsweetened Soy Milk with added calcium and vitamins (13%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#6: Okra (Cooked)
Calcium in 100g1 Cup Sliced (160g)8 Pods (85g)
77mg (8% DV)124mg (12% DV)65mg (7% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#7: Broccoli
Calcium in 100g1 Cup Chopped (91g)1 Cup Cooked (156g)
47mg (5% DV)43mg (4% DV)62mg (6% DV)
One cup of cooked broccoli, boiled in water contains just 54 calories. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#8: Green Snap Beans
Calcium in 100g (Raw)1 Cup Raw (110g)Per Cup Cooked (125g)
37mg (4% DV)41mg (4% DV)55mg (6% DV)
One cup of cooked green snap beans, boiled in water contains just 44 calories. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#9: Almonds
Calcium in 100g1 Cup Whole (143g)1 Ounce (28g)
264mg (26% DV)378mg (38% DV)74mg (7% DV)
A one ounce (28g) serving of almonds, which is about 23 kernels, contains 161 calories. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#10: Fish Canned (Sardines, in Oil, with Bones)
Calcium in 100g 1 Cup Drained (149g)1 Ounce (28g)
383mg (38% DV)569mg (57% DV)107mg (11% DV)
Other Canned Fish High in Calcium (%DV per ounce serving): Pink Salmon (8%), Anchovies (6%) and Shrimp (4%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.






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The Top 10 High Calcium Foods by Nutrient Density (Calcium per Gram)
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#1: Dried Herbs (Dried Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary, Dill) 2113mg (211% DV) per 100 grams106mg (11% DV) per ground tablespoon (5 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Herbs
#2: Cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere, Goat’s, Swiss) 1376mg (138% DV) per 100 grams385mg (39% DV) per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cheese
#3: Sesame Seeds 975mg (98% DV) per 100 grams88mg (9% DV) per tablespoon (9 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sesame Seeds
#4: Tofu (Fried)372mg (37% DV) per 100 grams48mg (5% DV) per piece (13 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Tofu
#5: Almonds 264mg (26% DV) per 100 grams74mg (7% DV) per ounce (23 kernels, 28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Almonds
#6: Flaxseeds 255mg (26% DV) per 100 grams26mg (3% DV) per tablespoon (10 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Flaxseeds
#7: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Kale) 99mg (10% DV) per 100 grams Raw245mg (24% DV) per cup cooked (180 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dark Green Vegetables
#8: Milk and Yogurt (Whole Milk and Whole Milk Yogurt) 113mg (11% DV) per 100 grams276mg (28% DV) per cup (244 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Milk and Yogurt
#9: Brazil Nuts 160mg (16% DV) per 100 grams45mg (4% DV) per ounce or 6 kernels (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Brazil Nuts
#10: Fish (Herring, Pike, Bass, Perch, Rainbow Trout, Pollock) 74mg (7% DV) per 100 grams cooked106mg (11% DV) per cooked fillet (143 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fish

Other Calcium Rich Foods
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Whey Powder796mg (80% DV) per 100 gram serving1154mg (115% DV) per (cup) (227 grams)64mg (6% DV) per tablespoonClick to see complete nutrition facts for Sweet Dried Whey
Whole Milk113mg (11% DV) per 100 gram serving276mg (28% DV) per cup (244 grams)35mg (4% DV) in a fluid ounce (31 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whole Milk
Low-Fat Buttermilk116mg (12% DV) per 100 gram serving284mg (28% DV) per cup (245 grams)36mg (4% DV) in a fluid ounce (31 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Low-fat Buttermilk
Whole Wheat Bread107mg (11% DV) per 100 gram serving60mg (6% DV) in two slices (56 grams)30mg (3% DV) per slice (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whole Wheat Bread
Rhubarb 86mg (9% DV) per 100 gram serving 105mg (10% DV) per cup diced (122 grams) 44mg (4% DV) per stalk (51 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Rhubarb
Fresh Thyme 405mg (41% DV) per 100 gram serving 4mg (0% DV) per teaspoon (1 gram) 2mg (0% DV) in 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fresh Thyme
Parsley 138mg (14% DV) per 100 gram serving 83mg (8% DV) per cup (60 grams) 6mg (1% DV) per tablespoon (4 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fresh Parsley
Endive 52mg (5% DV) per 100 gram serving 26mg (2% DV) per cup chopped (50 grams) 267mg (27% DV) per head (513 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Endive
Capers (Canned) 40mg (4% DV) per 100 gram serving 4mg (0% DV) per tablespoon (9 grams) 8mg (1% DV) in two tablespoons (18 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Capers
Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste) 426mg (43% DV) per 100 gram serving 64mg (6% DV) per tablespoon (15 grams) 119mg (12% DV) per ounce (28 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Tahini
Molasses 205mg (21% DV) per 100 gram serving 691mg (69% DV) per cup (337 grams) 41mg (4% DV) per tablespoon (20 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Molasses
Garlic 181mg (18% DV) per 100 gram serving 246mg (25% DV) per cup (136 grams) 16mg (2% DV) in three cloves (9 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Garlic
Basil 177mg (18% DV) per 100 gram serving 11mg (1% DV) per cup of whole leaves (6 grams) 9mg (1% DV) in 2 chopped tablespoons (5 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Basil
Lettuce (Greenleaf) 36mg (4% DV) per 100 gram serving 13mg (1% DV) per cup shredded (36 grams) 9mg (1% DV) per large outer leaf (24 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Basil
Grape Leaves (Canned)289mg (29% DV) per 100 gram serving81mg (7% DV) per ounce (7 leaves)(28 grams)12mg (1% DV) per leaf (4 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Grape Leaves
Amaranth Greens (Chinese Spinach, Hinn Choy, Yin Tsoi, Rajgira, Bayam, Kulitis, Callaloo)215mg (22% DV) per 100 gram serving60mg (6% DV) per cup (28 grams)30mg (3% DV) per leaf (14 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Amaranth Leaves
Amaranth (Grain)47mg (5% DV) per 100 gram serving116mg (12% DV) per cup cooked (246 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Amaranth Grain (Cooked)
Jute (Meloukhia)211mg (21% DV) per 100 gram serving184mg (18% DV) per cup (87 grams)92mg (9% DV) in a half-cup (44 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cooked Jute (Meloukhia)
Fireweed Leaves429mg (43% DV) per 100 gram serving99mg (10% DV) per cup (23 grams)94mg (9% DV) per plant (22 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Fireweed Leaves
Kelp (Seaweed)168mg (17% DV) per 100 gram serving134mg (13% DV) per cup (80 grams)17mg (2% DV) in 2 tablespoons (10 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Kelp (Seaweed)
Nopales164mg (16% DV) per 100 gram serving244mg (24% DV) per cup (149 grams)48mg (5% DV) per pad or leaf (29 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Nopales
Canned Sardines382mg (38% DV) per 100 gram serving351mg (35% DV) per can (3.75 oz) (92 grams)92mg (9% DV) in two average sardines (24 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Sardines with Bones
Chili Powder278mg (28% DV) per 100 gram serving22mg (2% DV) per tablespoon (8 grams)8mg (1% DV) per teaspoon (3 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Chili Powder
Chia Seeds (Dried)631mg (63% DV) per 100 gram serving177mg (18% DV) per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Chia Seeds
Lotus Seeds163mg (16% DV) per 100 gram serving52mg (5% DV) per cup (32 grams)46mg (5% DV) per ounce (42 seeds) (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Lotus Seeds
Cooked Mustard Greens74mg (7% DV) per 100 gram serving104mg (10% DV) per cup (140 grams)52mg (5% DV) in a half cup (70 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cooked Mustard Greens

▼ Health Benefits of Calcium
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  • Bone Health and Osteoporosis (*Controversial) - Adequate intake of calcium during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood up to age 30 is essential to increase bone mass. The higher the bone mass at this age, the lower the risk of osteoporosis.2 Many factors lead to osteoporosis and affect its severity.3 There is mixed evidence if a diet higher in calcium benefits those with osteoporosis, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still suggests that a diet high in calcium in addition with vitamin D and regular exercise may reduce risk of osteoporosis.4
  • Lower Blood Pressure (*Controversial) - There is mixed evidence if increased intake of calcium will lower or raise blood pressure.5-7 Several studies report that those who obtain calcium from plant sources are likely to have lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease.8-12 Conversely, those who predominantly consume their calcium from salty cheeses are more likely to have higher blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer (*Controversial) - Several observational studies link a higher intake of calcium with reduced colon cancer risk.13-16 However, various other studies report the results to be inconclusive when compared to a placebo group.16-18

Factors which Affect Calcium Absorption
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  • Amount of Calcium Consumed - The more calcium you consume, the less you absorb. Though consuming more calcium will increase your total level.2
  • Age - Children absorb about 60% of the calcium from foods, while adults absorb only 20%. Calcium absorption decreases with age and people over 50 should eat more calcium.2
  • Pregnancy - Pregnant women absorb more calcium.2
  • Vitamin D Intake - Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption. It can be found in foods or created by exposing skin to sunshine.2
  • Phytic and Oxalic Acid - Even though some studies suggest phytic and oxalic acid affect calcium absorption, people eating a balanced diet will not be affected, further, the percent daily value already accounts for this absorption factor. High amounts of oxalic acid is found in plant foods like spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans. Phytic acid is found in whole bread, and wheat bran.2
  • Sodium, Protein, Alcohol, Caffeine (Coffee and Tea) - A diet high in sodium, protein, alcohol, and caffeine (coffee and tea) can harm absorption and retention of calcium by causing more calcium to be excreted. Alcohol also interferes with the metabolism of vitamin D.2

▼ Health Risks of Excessive Calcium Intake
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  • Kidney Stones (*Controversial) - At least one clinical trial has shown that 7 years of vitamin D and calcium supplementation is associated with increased risk of kidney stones.30 However, several other studies report lower risk of kidney stones with increased calcium intake,31-33 which suggests that consumption of oxalates and lower intake of fluids are more likely to play a role in increasing kidney stone risk.34
  • Impairment of the Kidneys - Extremely high levels of calcium, often associated with hyperparathyroidism, as opposed to food or supplement intake, can impair functioning of the kidneys, and lead to reduced absorption of other essential minerals, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease (*Controversial) - Some studies show that taking calcium supplements in excess of 500mg daily can increase risk of cardiovascular diseases.44,45
  • Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer (*Controversial) - Several studies have found a link between increased calcium intake, or 2.5 servings of dairy foods, and increased risk of prostate cancer. It is inconclusive whether the dairy products or the calcium increases the risk.19-25 However, several other studies have found no association between prostate cancer and calcium,26-29 suggesting that calcium from plant foods is better than from dairy products.
  • Decreased Absorption of Certain Medications - Excessive intake of calcium can decrease the absorption of the following:35-37
    • Biphosphonates (for osteoporosis)
    • Antibiotics (fluoroquinolone and tetracycline)
    • Levothyroxine (for hypothyroidism)
    • Phenytoin (an anticonvulsant)
    • Tiludronate disodium (for Paget's disease)

▼ People at Risk of a Calcium Deficiency
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  • Postmenopausal women - Due to a reduced level of the hormone estrogen, calcium absorption decreases in menopausal women.38 Unfortunately, an increased intake of calcium during this time may not help.39,40
  • Women who miss their menstrual period (Amenorrhea) - Amenorrhea is a condition that typically occurs in anorexic women, or women who are athletes. This is again due to a reduced level of estrogren. Increased intake of calcium foods is recommended.41
  • Individuals with lactose intolerance - People with lactose intolerance consume fewer dairy products, which in turn, can reduce the amount of calcium consumed.
  • Vegetarians and Vegans (*Controversial) - Oxalic and phytic acids found primarily in plant products are thought to reduce absorption of calcium.42 However, consumption of meats has also been shown to increase the excretion of calcium.43 As such vegetarians and vegans might not be any worse off than omnivores, but should still be sure to eat plenty of plant foods high in calcium.
  • People taking Certain Medications
    • Aluminum and magnesium containing antacids.
    • Mineral oil and stimulant laxatives.
    • Glucocorticoids, such as prednisone.

▼ Recipes High in Calcium
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▼ Warnings
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  • Cheese and Whole Milk are high cholesterol foods which should be eaten in moderate amounts and avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Sesame Seeds, Flax Seeds, Almonds, Molasses, and Brazil Nuts are high calorie foods and should be eaten in moderate amounts by people with a high body mass index.

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▼ References
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  2. Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Calcium
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  44. Mark J Bolland, senior research fellow,1 Alison Avenell, clinical senior lecturer,2 John A Baron, professor,3 Andrew Grey, associate professor,1 Graeme S MacLennan, senior research fellow,2 Greg D Gamble, research fellow,1 and Ian R Reid, professor1. Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010; 341: c3691. Published online 2010 July 29. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c3691.
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