25 Best Food Sources of Calcium

Calcium is an abundant mineral stored in our bones that is important for maintaining bone strength, muscle contractions, nerve functioning, and hormone regulation. It’s important to get enough calcium in your diet each day. Continue reading for the 25 best food sources of calcium to get enough.

What does calcium do?

Though we often think of calcium’s role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, calcium is involved in many other bodily functions. This includes muscle contraction, functioning of our nervous system, blood clotting, hormone secretion, and regulating heart rhythm.

How Much Calcium Do We Need?

A Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) exists for calcium in Canada. Individual calcium needs vary depending on age and gender. Adult males need 1000mg/d between the age of 19-70, then needs increase to 1200mg/d after 71 years of age. Adult females need 1000mg between the age of 19-30, then the RDA increases to 1200mg/d after the age of 31.

See the summary chart below for more details about the Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium.

CALCIUM DIETARY REFERENCE INTAKES

What happens if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet?

Our bodies store large amounts of calcium in our bones. However, if we do not get enough calcium in our diet, calcium will be released from our bones to maintain the levels needed for bodily functions. Over time, this can lead to lower bone density, weakening of bones, and an increased risk of bone fractures.

How much Calcium do Canadians Get?

According to the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, inadequate calcium intake is more likely to occur as people age. The percentage of adult men with inadequate intake of calcium is 17-80%, depending on the age category. In women, 48-87% have inadequate calcium intake, depending on the age category.

Be sure to check out our free PDF download with the top 25 best sources of calcium here.

food sources of calcium - preview

Can we get enough calcium from food each day?

While it is certainly possible to get enough calcium from food sources, most Canadians are not getting enough. Check out the list below for the 25 Best Food Sources of Calcium to make sure you’re getting enough.

Best Food Sources of Calcium

1. Milk (dairy or fortified alternative)

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Milk

Fortified dairy milk or milk alternatives such as almond milk contain 300mg per 1 cup. Use milk with cereal, in smoothies, or as a stand-alone beverage.

2. Yogurt

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Yogurt

A 3/4 cup serving of yogurt contains 330mg of calcium. Enjoy yogurt on its own, use it to make parfaits (adding toppings you prefer such as granola or fruit), add to soups, use in smoothies, or use it to make dips.

3. Cheese

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Cheese

Cheese contains 250mg of calcium per 3cm cube. Cut into cubes to pair with fruit for a snack, add sliced cheese to sandwiches, grate onto dishes like pasta, or melt onto crackers.

4. Kefir

Best Food Sources of Calcium - kefir

A 1-cup serving of kefir contains 270mg of calcium. Consume alone as a beverage or add to your smoothie for a calcium boost.

5. Canned Salmon with Bones

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Canned salmon

Canned salmon with bones contains a whopping 240mg of calcium per 80g (or 1/2 a standard can). Use to make salmon casserole, salmon salad sandwiches, or salmon cakes.

6. Canned Sardines with Bones

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Canned sardines

Canned sardines contain 200mg per 50g portion (or 1/2 a standard can). Use in a salad, add to pasta, serve on crackers, or eat alone for a boost of calcium.

7. Whey Protein powder

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Whey protein powder

A scoop of whey protein powder contains 200mg of calcium. Add whey protein powder to smoothies or cereal, or use it as a post-workout beverage to boost your intake.

8. Blackstrap Molasses

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Molases

A tablespoon of molasses contains 180mg. Use molasses in baked goods or sauces for added calcium.

9. Cottage Cheese

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese contains 150mg of calcium per 1 cup serving. Enjoy cottage cheese alone as a high-protein snack or add it to toast with berries for a simple breakfast.

10. Collard Greens

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Collard Greens

Collard greens contain 115mg of calcium per 1/2 cup cooked. Use collard greens as a wrap, or add to stir fry or soup for an added calcium boost.

11. Tempeh

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Tempeh

Tempeh contains 110mg of calcium per 4oz serving. Crumble tempeh to use as a ground meat substitute, or cube to add to stir fry for a calcium-rich protein source.

Best Food Sources of Calcium

12. Kale

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Kale

A one-cup serving of kale contains 105mg of calcium. Use kale in salads or roast in the oven with oil, salt and pepper for a crunchy snack.

13. White Beans

Best Food Sources of Calcium - White beans

White beans contain 95mg of calcium per 1/2 cup cooked. Use beans in soup, salad, chili, or salads to boost your intake.

14. Sesame Seeds

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds contain 95mg of calcium per 1 tbsp serving. Add to salads, oatmeal, smoothies, or sprinkle over stir fry for a calcium boost.

15. Almonds

Best Food Sources of Calcium - Almonds

Almonds contain 95mg of calcium per 1/4 cup. Eat alone as a snack, or add sliced almonds to oatmeal or salads.

16. Soybeans

Spy beans

A 1/2 cup serving of soybean contains 85mg of calcium. Use soybeans in curry, salads, or roast with spices for a crunchy snack.

17. Bok Choy

Bok Choy

Bok bhoy contains 85mg of calcium per 1/2 cup cooked. Use bok choy in stir fry, soup, or sautee alone with spices for a calcium-rich side dish.

18. Tofu

Tofu

Tofu contains 105mg per 4oz serving. Make tofu scramble, sautee in honey garlic sauce, or bread and bake in an air-fryer for a calcium-rich meat alternative.

19. Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens

Dandelion greens contain 75mg per 1/2 cup cooked. Add dandelion greens to salads and pasta, or use it as a pizza topping.

20. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds

Chia seeds contain 68mg per 1 tbsp serving. Make chia pudding for a grab-and-go breakfast, or add them to oatmeal and smoothies to boost your intake.

21. Broccoli

Broccoli

Broccoli contains 65mg per 1 cup serving. Use steamed broccoli as a side dish, enjoy raw with dip, or add to pasta and stir fry.

22. Navy Beans and Black Beans

Black beans

Navy beans and black beans contain 65mg per 1/2 cup cooked. Use these beans in tacos, soup, or salads for a calcium boost.

23. Tahini

Tahini

Tahini contains 65mg per 1 tbsp serving. Add to your favourite noodle dish or smoothie recipe, or add to dips to boost your intake.

24. Amaranth

Amaranth

Amaranth contains 60mg per 1/2 cup cooked. Use as a side dish or add to salads.

25. Edamame

Edamame

Edamame contains 50mg per 1/2 cup cooked. Enjoy steamed edamame as a snack or add to noodle dishes.

  1. Best Food Sources of Magnesium
  2. 10 Best Food Sources of Iron
  3. Best Sources of Plant-Based Protein

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements – calcium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  2. Canada, H. (2006, June 29). Government of Canada. Canada.ca. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-elements-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html
  3. Canada, H. (2022, May 2). Government of Canada. Canada.ca. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/calcium.html
  4. Connie M. Weaver, Munro Peacock. Calcium. Advances in Nutrition, Volume 2, Issue 3. 2011. Pages 290-292. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.111.000463.

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