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At a basic level, calcium helps give you strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Receiving adequate daily intakes of calcium is important in child and adolescent development, but dairy isn’t necessarily the highest dietary source of calcium. In fact, the top two foods which are highest in calcium (per serving) are in the ‘Nuts and Seeds’ food group.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that plays an elemental role in bone building, and works best with paired with vitamin D.But there’s more to it than that. Calcium also plays a role in the body’s ability to maintain a proper acid/alkaline balance as well as regulates muscle and nerve function.
A deficiency in calcium can lead to rickets, and excess calcium may interfere with normal kidney function leading to kidney stones.
Best Food Sources of Calcium
|Food||Serving Measure||Calcium Per Serving (mg)||Calcium per 100 g (mg)||Category|
|Sesame Seeds||1.0 cup||1404||975||Nuts and Seeds|
|Sisymbrium Sp. Seeds||1.0 cup||1208||1633||Nuts and Seeds|
|Swiss Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||1175||890||Dairy and Egg products|
|Acid Whey||1.0 cup||1171||2054||Dairy and Egg products|
|Whole Milk, dried||1.0 cup||1167||912||Dairy and Egg products|
|Sweet Whey||1.0 cup||1154||796||Dairy and Egg products|
|Provolone Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||998||756||Dairy and Egg products|
|Monterey Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||985||746||Dairy and Egg products|
|Muenster Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||946||717||Dairy and Egg products|
|Cheddar Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||937||710||Dairy and Egg products|
|Colby Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||904||685||Dairy and Egg products|
|Mexican Cheese (queso anejo)||1.0 cup, crumbled||898||680||Dairy and Egg products|
|Brick Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||890||674||Dairy and Egg products|
|Queso Asadero||1.0 cup, diced||873||661||Dairy and Egg products|
|Queso Chihuahua||1.0 cup, diced||859||651||Dairy and Egg products|
|Port De Salut Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||858||650||Dairy and Egg products|
|Parmesan Cheese||1.0 cup||853||853||Dairy and Egg products|
|White Cheese (queso blanco)||1.0 cup, crumbled||814||690||Dairy and Egg products|
|Winged Beans||1.0 cup||801||440||Legumes|
|American Cheese Spread||1.0 cup, diced||787||562||Dairy and Egg products|
|Feta Cheese||1.0 cup, crumbled||740||493||Dairy and Egg products|
|Radishes (dried)||1.0 cup||730||629||Vegetables|
|Fontina Cheese||1.0 cup, diced||726||550||Dairy and Egg products|
|Fresh Cheese (queso fresco)||1.0 cup, crumbled||691||566||Dairy and Egg products|
|Limburger Cheese||1.0 cup||666||497||Dairy and Egg products|
Source: USDA Nutrient Database Release 28
How Much Calcium Do You Need
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for calcium is 2,500 mg per day.
 Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. “Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Vitamins and Minerals.” European Food and Safety Authority. Scientific Committee on Food, Feb. 2006. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/efsa_rep/blobserver_assets/ndatolerableuil.pdf.
 Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. “Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Elements.” Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Ed. Catherine A. Ross, Christine L. Taylor, Ann L. Yaktine, et al. National Academies Press, 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56068/table/summarytables.t8.