Healthy Living

Calcium from Food

Calcium from Food

Dairy provides essential bone building nutrients

The best way to get your recommended calcium intake is to eat a diet rich in calcium. Nearly all people consume some calcium as part of their general diet, but calcium content in different foods varies significantly. Perhaps one of the most well known sources are dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt and butter.

Dairy foods are an important source of bone building nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and protein. In fact, research shows that bone density is compromised among both kids and adults who follow dairy-restricted diets, which can put bones at risk for osteoporosis. You can get calcium magnesium and vitamin D from non-dairy foods, including leafy greens and salmon, but it?s more difficult because most foods don?t contain them at the same levels as dairy foods. Additionally, dairy products are considered the best sources of calcium because they naturally contain high amounts of calcium along with lactose and casein that can assist absorption. Yogurt, cheese and regular milk or lactose-free milk are among the foods highest in calcium. When eating dairy, be sure to choose low-fat or fat-free varieties most often. They contain bone-building nutrients but with fewer calories and less fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It is interesting to note that low fat varieties of dairy products are often higher in calcium.MyText

Low fat dairy products have just as much calcium (and sometimes even more) than regular

Calcium rich foods

It is not just dairy products that contain calcium. There are also many non-dairy sources of calcium, and people who are lactose intolerant may consider adding fish to their diet. Green leafy vegetables, bony fish and dried fruit all contain useful quantities of the mineral. Vegans may wish to consider consuming vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale and turnip greens, fruits such as blackberries, papayas and mango; and certain nuts and seeds. However, dairy products are often recommended as they are a rich source of calcium that is easily absorbed and also have the additional advantage of being good sources of proteins and other micronutrients that are important for bone health. Here are a few examples of some calcium rich foods:

Food Calcium (mg)
Milk, semi-skimmed (glass, 200ml) 240
Milk skimmed (glass, 200ml) 244
Milk whole (glass, 200ml 236
Yoghurt, low-fat, fruit (pot, 150g) 210
Yoghurt, low-fat, plain (pot, 150g) 243
Camembert (portion, 30g) 71
Cheddar Medium (portion, 30g) 222
Cottage (portion, 30g) 38
Edam (portion, 30g) 239
Feta (portion, 30g) 108
Mozzarella (portion, 30g) 109
Parmesan (portion, 30g) 308
Apricots, raw, no stone (4 fruits, 160g) 117
Figs, ready to eat (4 fruits, 220g) 506
Orange (1 peeled, 160g) 75
Almonds (12 whole, 26g) 62
Hazelnuts (20 whole, 20g) 28
Sesame seeds (1 tablespoon, 12g) 80
Tahini Paste (1 heaped teaspoon, 19g) 129
Walnuts (12 halves, 40g 38
Baked beans (serving, 135g) 72
Broccoli, boiled (serving, 85g) 34
Chick peas, boiled (3 tablespoons, 90g) 41
Curly Kale (serving, 95g) 143
Red kidney beans, canned (3 tablespoons, 105g) 75
Pasta, plain, cooked (portion, 230g) 85
Rice, white, boiled (portion, 180g) 32
White bread (slice, 30g) 53
Wholemeal bread (slice, 30g) 32
Salmon, tinned (portion, 100 g) 91
Sardines in oil, tinned (portion, 100g) 500
Whitebait, fried (portion, 100g) 860
Cheesecake, fruit (slice, 100g) 78
Custard made with milk (portion, 100g) 138
Rice pudding, canned (portion, 100g) 147
Source: IOF 2015  

Practical tips for adding calcium in your diet

  •  Calcium is more concentrated in dairy products than most other food groups, and is easily absorbed. Try to include 3 serves of dairy per day in your normal diet. Hard cheeses such as parmesan have a higher concentration of calcium than softer varieties such as cottage
  •   Add milk or skim milk powder to soups or casseroles. Use yoghurt in soups, salads and desserts.
  •   Soy does not contain a significant amount of calcium. However, calcium is added to many soy-based products such as calcium-set tofu and several brands of soy milk. The calcium in these products is as easily absorbed as it is from other products that naturally contain calcium
  •   Consider eating the bones that are present in canned fish (salmon and sardines), as this is where most of the calcium is concentrated.
  •   Include more broccoli, mustard cabbage, bok choy, silverbeet, cucumber, celery, chick peas in your regular diet
  •   Eat more almonds, dried figs and dried apricots
  •   Products fortified with calcium, such as breakfast cereals and some breads and fruit juices, can help improve your calcium intake.