Published January 30, 2020
Calcium is required for the normal development and maintenance of the skeleton, and also plays an essential role in various body functions. Men between the ages of 19 and 70, and women between the ages of 19 and 50, are recommended to consume 1000mg of calcium from their diet every day.1 Men 70 years and over, and women over 50, require 1300mg a day to support their body’s needs1.
The following foods are especially rich in calcium and can help you meet your daily calcium requirements*:
Dairy (or milk substitutes)
Milk provides a rich and absorbable source of calcium with one cup containing approximately 300mg.2 For people with allergies or intolerances, lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soy milk provides a similar amount.2
Cheese is another dense and absorbable source of calcium. A 40g portion size or 2 slices of feta, cheddar and brie provides approximately 126mg, 305mg and 184mg respectively.5
A 200g tub of yoghurt provides roughly 300mg of calcium.2
One portion of tofu (120g) provides around 380mg of calcium.5
Salmon or sardines
Sardines and salmon (with soft edible bones) should be included in a healthy diet for good bones. One portion of canned salmon (approximately 105g of tinned salmon in brine) delivers approximately 200mg of calcium.5
Half a cup of white beans contains 81mg of calcium and half a cup of red kidney beans contains 25mg.3
Chickpeas and lentils are other sources of calcium, each containing 30mg and 45mg of calcium respectively in half a cup.5
A half cup serve of cooked bok choy contains approximately 62mg of calcium.5
Half a cup of cooked kale supplies 112mg of calcium.5
A cup of cooked broccoli delivers around 45mg of calcium, 50-60% of which should be absorbed.2
Nuts are an alternative source of calcium; they are also rich in other nutrients like healthy fats and protein.
A handful of Almonds (around 30g) provide 80mg of calcium, whilst a similar quantity (30g) of Brazil nuts contain 45mg of calcium.5
Many seeds are packed with nutritional benefits including calcium, protein and healthy fats. Multiple alternatives like chia seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds (including tahini) are good sources of calcium. 2 table spoons (28g) of poppy seed contain 403mg of calcium, whilst the same amount of chia seeds provides 177mg and a portion (30ml) of tahini add 99mg of calcium. 5
Dried fruits will normally be a good source of antioxidants and fibre, but dried figs and goji berries contain the most calcium per gram out of the dried fruits. Each 30g of dried figs will provide 60mg of calcium, similarly 30g of goji berries can add 57mg of calcium into your diet.5
There are a variety of foods that can be incorporated into a daily diet to boost your calcium intake to the recommended levels.
Want to find out if you’re getting enough calcium from your diet? Click here to use the Ostelin Calcium Calculator.
If you’re finding it difficult to meet your calcium requirements through diet alone, you could consider a calcium supplement to ensure your body’s needs are met. Learn more about calcium here.
*Calcium content is approximate.
1 Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. NHMRC, Calcium. http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium, accessed August 2018.
2 Better Health, Calcium, April 2013. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Calcium?open, accessed August 2018.
3 Linus Pauling Institute, Calcium, reviewed 2017.
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/calcium/index.html#food_source, accessed August 2018.
4 International Osteoporosis Foundation, https://www.iofbonehealth.org/osteoporosis-musculoskeletal-disorders/osteoporosis/prevention/calcium/calcium-content-common-foods, accessed August 2018.
5 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The Australian Food Composition Database AUSNUT 2011‒13. Published May 2014, last updated April 2016. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/afcd/Pages/foodsearch.aspx
Accessed October 2019
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