Foods High in Calcium

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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
Molasses 1.0 cup 691 205 Sweets
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.[1][2]

References

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

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