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*:
Milk (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
Half a cup of tofu provides around 430mg of calcium.3
Cheese is another dense and absorbable source of calcium. A 60g portion of feta, cheddar and brie provides approximately 144mg, 296mg and 318mg respectively.4
Salmon or sardines
Sardines and salmon (with soft edible bones) should be included in a healthy diet for good bones. Half a cup of canned salmon delivers approximately 400mg of calcium.2
A 200g tub of yoghurt provides roughly 300mg of calcium.2
Half a cup of white beans contains 81mg of calcium and half a cup of red kidney beans contains 25mg.3 Beans also contain phytic acid, a component that can reduce how much of the calcium is absorbed into the body. For this reason, you may need to consume more of this food to meet your calcium requirements.3
A half cup serve of cooked bok choy contains approximately 79mg of calcium.3
Half a cup of cooked kale supplies 47mg of calcium.3
120g (a medium bunch) of raw watercress contains about 188mg of calcium.4
A cup of cooked broccoli delivers around 45mg of calcium, 50-60% of which should be absorbed.2
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.
*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.