Food With No Calcium

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Manage your calcium intake and still get all the nutrients you need with Food With No Calcium. This blog will teach you how to substitute calcium foods with calcium-free alternatives that are just as nutritious. You’ll enjoy tasty recipes that use healthy ingredients like spinach, kale and broccoli, but contain no dairy products or meat. You’ll also find out which foods are naturally high in calcium, so you can make informed choices about what you eat.

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Food With No Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and has a vital role in building and maintaining a healthy skeleton. Calcium has also been linked to potentially reducing hypertension and maintaining a healthy body weight. Calcium is a vital component to proper growth and development. The AI (Average Intake), determined by the National Acedemies of Sciences for children ages 9 to 18, it is 1300 mg per day; for adults ages 19 to 50, it is 1000 mg per day and for seniors ages 51 and over, it is 1200 mg per day.

Calcium Free Fats and Oil

Most foods contain calcium. However, fats and oils are the exception to that rule, though not all are calcium free. Fats and oils that are calcium free include: beef and chicken fat, vegetable shortening, saffola margarine, canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, regular ranch dressing, and imitation low calorie mayonnaise.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a good source of calcium. The only fruits and vegetables that are completely calcium free are dried cranberries and artichokes hearts packed in water or marinated. Fruits and vegetables that contain less than 10 mg of calcium per serving include: oranges, grapes, sweet cherries, apples, bananas, blueberries, peaches, plantains, plums, pomegranates, bean sprouts, capers, corn, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, mushrooms and tomatillas.

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Meats, Nuts and Seeds

All meats, nuts and seeds contain calcium with few exceptions. The foods with the lowest amounts of calcium include: octopus (4 oz., 7 mg), salmon (4 oz., 8 mg), raw swordfish (4 oz., 5 mg), bluefin tuna (4 oz., 9 mg), dried and cured beef (1 oz., 1 mg), bottom round lean beef roast (4 oz., 6 mg), lean round eye roast (4 oz., 7 mg), pork bacon (3 pieces, 2 mg), raw shredded coconut (1/2 cup, 6 mg) and cashew butter (1 Tbsp., 7 mg).

Grain Products

Grain products are also rare to find without a significant amount of calcium. The grain products with little or no calcium include: cooked millet (1 cup, 7 mg), cooked Spanish rice (1 cup, 0 mg), cooked sticky rice (1 cup, 3 mg), cooked wild rice (1 cup, 5 mg), cornmeal (1 cup, 7 mg), corn grits ( 1 cup, 7 mg), puffed rice (1 cup, 1 mg) and popcorn (1 cup, 1 mg). 

List of Foods Without Calcium

Calcium is so abundant in the average human diet that searching for foods entirely without calcium is nearly impossible. Though there are some obscure exceptions that contain no calcium whatsoever, the best way to tackle a low calcium diet is by eliminating foods that are particularly high in the mineral and including those that are low in it, such as the wide variety of low calcium vegetables available.

According to UCSF Health, the amount of calcium an adult between ages 19 and 50 should be receiving daily is 1,000 milligrams. These foods have less than 100 milligrams of calcium based on a 1-cup serving, so they are safe in moderation on a low calcium diet:

  • Brie cheese: This cheese has only 50 milligrams of calcium.
  • Parmesan cheese: Parmesan only has 70 milligrams of calcium.
  • Legumes: Between 15 and 50 milligrams of calcium depending on the variety; always check the nutrition label.
  • Pinto beans: 75 milligrams
  • Soybeans: With 100 milligrams, soybeans are right on the cusp, but they can still contribute to a low calcium diet.
  • Tempeh: 75 milligrams
  • White beans: 70 milligrams
  • Brown rice: 50 milligrams
  • Corn tortillas: 85 milligrams, but this can vary; check the nutrition label.
  • Sunflower seeds: 50 milligrams

Low calcium vegetables — with less than 100 milligrams of calcium per cup — include:

  • Bok choy: 40 milligrams
  • Chicory: 40 milligrams
  • Collard greens: 50 milligrams
  • Corn: With 10 milligrams of calcium in a cup, corn is one of the best vegetables for a low calcium diet.
  • Dandelion greens: 80 milligrams
  • Kale: 55 milligrams
  • Kelp: 60 milligrams
  • Mustard greens: 40 milligrams
  • Turnip greens: 80 milligrams

These are just some of the foods with a comparatively low calcium count; there may be others you find by checking the nutrition labels on products in your supermarket.

Read more:​ How to Lower Calcium Naturally

Risks Associated With Calcium

While calcium certainly has its own benefits for the body, too much of it can cause an array of issues. According to the National Institutes of Health, an excess of calcium in the body has been linked to constipation and inhibition of the ability to absorb important minerals such as iron and zinc.

Excess calcium has also been linked to increased risks of heart disease and prostate cancer, among other forms of cancer, though more research needs to be conducted on this topic before conclusive results are found.

The upper limit of calcium for an adult 19 to 50 is 2,500 milligrams, which is an exceedingly high amount ordinarily only achieved through the use of calcium supplements. These supplements are often provided to help with bone strength and to ward off osteoporosis, but there are other ways to boost bone strength beside increasing your calcium intake.

According to HelpGuide, a mental health and wellness organization that collaborates with Harvard Health Publishing, the following nutrients are all beneficial for calcium and bones:

  • Magnesium: Aids the body in absorbing and retaining calcium. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, tofu, seafood, spinach and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D: As with magnesium, vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and also helps to regulate calcium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is found in certain fortified cereals, fish, shrimp, oysters and eggs.
  • Phosphorous: Works in tandem with calcium to build bones, provided both are taken in moderation. Good sources of phosphorous include pork, poultry, lentils and whole grains.

The more calcium the body successfully absorbs, the less likely it is that calcium will bind to uric or oxalic acids in the bloodstream. When it binds to these acids, calcium oxalate stones are formed — otherwise known as kidney stones.

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The best calcium-rich foods

Discover which foods are high in calcium, how much calcium you should be eating each day and the best non-dairy and vegan sources of this vital mineral.

Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones because it gives them strength and rigidity. Our bodies contain about 1kg of this vital mineral and 99% of it is found in our bones and teeth. Most people should be able to get enough calcium through healthy eating.

How much calcium should we be aiming to consume each day?

Daily RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake) of calcium according to age:

  • 0-12 months (non-breastfed only) – 525mg
  • 1-3 years – 350mg
  • 4-6 years – 450mg
  • 7-10 years – 550mg
  • 11-18 years – boys – 1000mg
  • 11-18 years – girls – 800mg
  • Adults (19+) years – 700mg
  • Pregnant women – 700mg
  • Breastfeeding women – 700mg + 550mg

Which foods contain calcium and how much is in an average portion?People taking osteoporosis drug treatments may benefit from a daily calcium intake of around 1000mg. Your doctor or GP will be able to advise you on how much calcium you should eat if you have been prescribed these treatments.

Wooden board with selection of cheeses
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Cheese and cheese-based dishes

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 30g parmesan cheese – 300mg
  • 40g edam/gouda – 300mg
  • 60g paneer cheese – 300mg
  • 30g cheddar cheese/low-fat hard cheese – 200mg
  • 30g halloumi – 200mg
  • 80g cottage cheese – 100mg
  • 40g camembert – 100mg

Find more cheese recipes.A cheeseboard may be the most obvious serving suggestion, but dishes made with cheese also count towards your daily total, such as cheese omelettes, quiches made with cheese and egg, and dishes with cheese-based sauces like macaroni cheese or cauliflower cheese.

Milk being poured into a glass
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Milk – skimmed, semi-skimmed, whole and soya

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 200ml milk (skimmed/semi-skimmed/whole) – 240mg
  • 200ml soya milk (calcium fortified) – 240mg
Pot of berry bircher muesli with yogurt
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Drink milk on its own or paired with low-sugar cereal or muesli. Milk-based drinks such as malted milk, hot chocolate or milkshakes also count, but be aware that the sugar in these can be quite high. Porridge made with milk is a good breakfast option, while rice pudding is a classic milk-based dessert.

Yogurt – plain, low-fat and soya

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 125g yogurt (low-fat, plain and calcium-fortified soya) – 200mg
  • 47g ‘mini pot’ fortified fromage frais – 50mg

Find more yogurt recipes.Serve plain yogurt with fresh fruit as a dessert or snack, or make into Bircher muesli for breakfast.

Grilled tofu with noodles and vegetables in bowl
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Tofu – firm, soft or silken (calcium-set)

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 120g tofu (steamed or fried) – 200mg

Find more tofu recipes.Tofu is an extremely versatile ingredient and makes a great addition to curries, stir fries and even cannelloni.

Sardines in colourful salad
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Canned fish – sardines and salmon

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 50g sardines (canned) – 200mg
  • 105g tinned pink salmon – 100mg

Find more sardine recipes.Canned fish is a useful storecupboard addition and increases your calcium intake too. Thrifty sardines are great in pasta dishes or on toast, while tinned salmon is delicious in salads or quick & easy fishcakes.

Bowl of raw broccoli
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Some fruit, vegetables and pulses

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 2 dried figs – 100mg
  • 200g baked beans – 85mg
  • 70g red kidney beans (canned) – 50mg
  • 90g green or French beans – 50mg
  • 95g green or white cabbage – 50mg
  • 110g broccoli (steamed) – 50mg
  • 40g watercress – 50mg
  • 400g tinned tomatoes – 50mg
  • 8 dried apricots – 50mg
  • 1 large orange – 50mg
Sesame seeds on a scoop with tahini paste in a bowl
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Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables is important for good health – but the ones highlighted above can also contribute towards your daily calcium total. Try our recipes for green beans, cabbage, broccoli and canned tomatoes.

Some nuts and seeds

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 1 heaped tsp tahini (sesame paste) – 100mg
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds – 100mg
  • 10 whole almonds – 50mg
  • 9 whole Brazil nuts – 50mg

Find out more about the health benefits of nuts.Certain nuts and seeds are a good source of calcium and they’re easy to incorporate into your diet, too. Mix tahini into yogurt or hummus for a delicious dressing or try making your own almond butter.

Pita breads on a chopping board
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Some carbohydrates – bread, pasta, rice

Amount of calcium per average portion size:

  • 75g white pitta bread – 100mg
  • 43g plain naan bread – 80mg
  • 1 medium slice white bread – 50mg
  • 1 thick slice wholemeal bread – 50mg
  • 230g cooked pasta, boiled – 50mg

Look through our healthy pasta and healthy sandwich recipes.You might be surprised to discover that bread is fortified with calcium, so even toast can contribute towards your intake along with other calcium-rich foods.

What are the best sources of calcium for vegans or people with a dairy intolerance?

If you don’t eat dairy products, you will need to include lots of other calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, dried fruit, pulses, fortified soya drinks and soya protein (tofu) in your diet. A vegetarian diet is not a risk factor for osteoporosis, and vegetarians and vegans do not appear to have poorer bone health than the rest of the population.

If you are lactose intolerant, make sure you enjoy plenty of non-dairy calcium-rich foods such as pilchards, sardines, curly kale, watercress, sesame seeds and tahini (sesame seed spread). You could also choose fortified foods, such as mineral water, soya milk or bread with added calcium. Check the label on the packet to see how much calcium has been added to each portion.

A note on vitamin D

You need vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D through sunlight exposure, from certain foods and drinks or from dietary supplements. Try to get short periods (about 10 minutes) of sun exposure to your bare skin, once or twice a day, between late March and the end of September, without sunscreen (but taking care not to burn). A UK government advisory committee has recommended that, in addition to sensible sunlight exposure, everyone over 1 year of age should get 10 micrograms (10 μg) of vitamin D every day (8.5-10 micrograms for all infants under 1 year). Talk to your doctor if you are concerned that you aren’t getting enough vitamin D or if you are considering taking a supplement.

There’s debate around whether dairy makes the body too ‘acidic’ and actually leeches calcium from bones. Is there any truth to this?

There is no good evidence for this. The argument is that too much protein or grain foods creates high ‘acidity’ in the bloodstream and that this results in calcium being ‘leeched from the bones’ to balance things out, causing osteoporosis and fractures. To avoid this problem, it is claimed we need an ‘alkaline diet’, which means we should eliminate foods such as dairy products. Although there is some truth in the process that they describe, the current expert consensus is that a well-balanced healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables should ensure the acidity/alkalinity balance is maintained. Eliminating whole groups of foods isn’t necessary, and in fact risks cutting out essential nutrients for bone health.

Which Foods Are Highest in Calcium for Your Diet and Body?

10 Calcium-Rich Foods

When you think about improving your diet, calcium might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

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When you think about improving your diet, calcium might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Did you know that most cells in your body use calcium in some form? Your nervous system, muscles, heart, bones, teeth, and more all need calcium. Lack of calcium can lead to physical and emotional problems. Food is the best way to increase your calcium intake!

Leafy Greens

There are many calcium-rich vegetables that you can include in your daily diet.

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There are many calcium-rich vegetables that you can include in your daily diet. Turnip greens, kale, bok choy, mustard greens, beet greens, or cabbage are very nutritious leafy greens. These kinds of greens are versatile and can be added to hot meals like soup, casserole, or stir-fry.

Darker leafy greens can act as a base for great salads. Romaine hearts, arugula, butter lettuce, mesclun, watercress, and red leaf lettuce are common, tasty greens that will give you a boost of calcium. Note that iceberg lettuce is a leafy green but does not offer much nutritional value!

Other Vegetables

In addition to leafy greens, other calcium-rich foods you can find in the produce aisle include broccoli, acorn squash, chicory, and corn.

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In addition to leafy greens, other calcium-rich foods you can find in the produce aisle include broccoli, acorn squash, chicory, and corn. If you make a meal without much produce in it, add a side of fresh or cooked vegetables. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, make a small veggie platter with a yogurt-based dip.

Fruits

A few fruits offer significant calcium content. The list is short but tasty.

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A few fruits offer significant calcium content. The list is short but tasty. Dried figs, oranges, papaya, and kiwi will all help you increase your calcium intake. Consider making a smoothie with milk or yogurt, or juicing some of these fruits for a healthy breakfast or snack. If you have leftovers, you can freeze them to make popsicles.

Seafood

Canned fish might not be a part of your current diet, but seafood like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and shrimp can all give you a calcium boost, especially if the bones are included.

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Canned fish might not be a part of your current diet, but seafood like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and shrimp can all give you a calcium boost, especially if the bones are included. The bones are soft and tasty—not the sharp, hard-to-digest bones you might be thinking of.

Try adding canned fish, with the bones if possible, to your next salad or sandwich.

Dairy

Dairy products are a common source of calcium. They typically offer high levels in an easily absorbable form, like milk.

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Dairy products are a common source of calcium. They typically offer high levels in an easily absorbable form, like milk. To increase your calcium intake with dairy, eat more cheese (ricotta, cheddar, American, feta, parmesan, or cottage) milk, yogurt, greek yogurt, vanilla frozen yogurt, or vanilla ice cream.

For more dairy in your diet, try adding milk or other dairy products to foods or recipes that call for other liquids. For example, you can put milk instead of water in your oatmeal. You can make dressings and dips with a yogurt base. You can add milk or yogurt to a whole-wheat pancake or waffle recipe.

Fortified Food

Food that’s been strengthened by extra nutrients or by nutrients that aren’t naturally present is called fortified food.

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Food that’s been strengthened by extra nutrients or by nutrients that aren’t naturally present is called fortified food. Common fortified food that has extra calcium includes almond, rice, or soy milk; fruit juices; tofu; frozen waffles; oatmeal; English muffins; and cereal. Always check the label to make sure your food has been fortified with the calcium you’re looking for.

A lot of breakfast options are made with fortified food. Starting your day with toast, cereal with almond milk, or waffles with a side of juice puts you on the right track to increase your calcium intake.

Grains

Many whole grains are high in calcium. Wheat bread, brown rice, corn tortillas, and quinoa can all provide a filling base for meals.

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Many whole grains are high in calcium. Wheat bread, brown rice, corn tortillas, and quinoa can all provide a filling base for meals. A quesadilla with cheddar cheese, rice and vegetable stir fry, or canned salmon sandwich are all made up of calcium-rich foods.

Legumes

Common legumes that offer plenty of calcium include soybeans, baked beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, dried beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and white beans.

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Common legumes that offer plenty of calcium include soybeans, baked beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, dried beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and white beans.

Legumes are important in vegan or vegetarian diets because they offer a lot of protein in addition to calcium. Beans can be added to stews, chilis, soups, or even as the main protein in a meal. You can even eat a side of edamame next time you’re looking for a nutritious snack.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are also a great source of protein and calcium.

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Nuts are also a great source of protein and calcium. To add more calcium to your diet, eat more almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds make great snacks, and they can be added to many meals. Try adding them to your next bowl of oatmeal or plate of salad.

Frozen Foods, Pudding, and Molasses

Many of the foods already listed can be combined to make great calcium-rich meals.

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Many of the foods already listed can be combined to make great calcium-rich meals. Frozen mac and cheese and frozen cheese pizza both offer a lot of calcium, although these kinds of calcium sources often have high amounts of calories, fat, and cholesterol. Look for ways that increase calcium intake without adding unhealthy amounts of fat, too.

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