What Is Good Source Of Calcium Other Than Milk

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Calcium is a vital mineral that you need for bone health – this is a fact that’s conveyed to everybody from childhood. But it’s not just for healthy bones and teeth that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium is set at 1,000 mg per day for women between 18-50 years and men between 18-70 years.

A 2019 study in Nutrients mentions that this recommended calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risks of low blood pressure (hypotension), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy like preeclampsia and eclampsia, blood clotting disorders, colorectal adenomas, high cholesterol levels, muscle dysfunction, nerve disorders and osteoporosis.

Calcium thus has a huge role to play in your health, and you need to increase your intake to match the RDA levels of this vital nutrient. Milk, yoghurt and other dairy products are some of the most popular calcium-rich foods, but these aren’t the only foods which are packed with this mineral. In fact, if you want to increase your calcium intake then instead of relying on just milk and dairy, you should be including the following calcium-rich foods in your daily diet.

1. Green veggies

Some dark leafy green vegetables are exceptionally rich in calcium and you should be eating enough of them. These include collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage, okra, bok choy, etc as they have very high amounts of calcium and other minerals.

2. Nuts and seeds

These small foods pack a very large punch of calcium as well as other minerals and antioxidants. Poppy, sesame, celery and chia seeds have high calcium content and so do all nuts, especially almonds.

3. Legumes and lentils

Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, black-eyed beans and legumes (dal) of all types are rich in calcium. These foods are also rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and other minerals, so include each of these in your diet.

4. Soy foods

Soy beans, edamame, tofu and all other types of soy products are packed with calcium and other minerals. These are also plant-based sources of nutrition and so they’re perfect for vegans as well as lactose intolerant people.

5. Fish

All types of fish which can be eaten with their bones, like sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc have a very high calcium content. The US National Osteoporosis Foundation also recommends shellfish like shrimp or prawns as seafood with high calcium content.

6. Amaranth

Also known as rajgira in some parts of India, amaranth is a pseudocereal rich in calcium, manganese and other minerals. Since it’s easily available in the country, it should be a part of your regular diet.

7. Dried figs

Dried figs (anjeer) are also very popular and easily available in India. It has the highest calcium content among all dried foods, and also has high potassium and vitamin K content.

When it comes to calcium, the first food that comes to mind is cow’s milk. Undoubtedly, cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium, with one cup (8 fluid ounces) providing 309 milligrams or 24 percent of your daily value (DV). Calcium is vital for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth and ensuring the heart, nerves, and muscles function properly. But, milk is not the only calcium-rich food. Here are ten foods with more calcium than one glass of cow’s milk and delicious recipes to enjoy them.

 

1. Firm tofu

Tofu Poke Bowl

1 cup firm tofu = 506 mg (38% DV)

The addition of calcium sulfate, an ingredient used to solidify soy milk to make tofu, increases the amount of calcium in this plant-based food significantly. Note that not all tofu is made with the addition of calcium sulfate. Depending on the type and the country of production, some tofu may also have magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, or potassium chloride added. Make sure to read the ingredients list and the nutrition facts table to find out whether the tofu you intend to buy contains a considerable amount of calcium.

Tofu is also a low-fat, cholesterol-free, complete protein, plant-based food, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. Firm tofu can be cut into thin slices or cubes and added to stir-fries, soups, stews and sushi.

 

2. Yogurt

yogurt bowl with fruit and honey

8 ounce plain, non-fat yogurt = 488 mg (38% DV)

Like milk, plain yogurt is another excellent calcium source and provides more calcium for the same serving size. You can always make plain yogurt flavorful by adding fruits. If you are looking for convenience, though, yogurt with fruit of the same serving size provides 434 mg of calcium or 33 percent of the daily value. For healthier yogurt options, choose those without added sugars and sweeteners.

 

3. Almond milk

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup unsweetened almond milk = 449 mg (34% DV)

Almond milk is a product of combining ground almonds and filtered water. This nut-based milk is usually fortified with calcium carbonate, a mineral found in limestone. Almond milk is an option if you want a plant-based dairy alternative and are looking for an alternative to soy-based drinks. However, unlike cow’s milk and soy milk, almond milk is not a significant source of protein, with only one gram per cup. Similar to other plant-based dairy alternatives, be sure to check the label to ensure your almond milk is fortified with calcium.

 

4. Whole almonds

Everything-Seasoned Almonds
CREDIT: JENNIFER CAUSEY

1 cup whole almonds (143 g) = 385 mg (30% DV)

Whole almonds are one the richest sources of calcium. They are also packed with healthy fats, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E. While one cup contains more calcium than cow’s milk, this is much more than a typical serving size. One handful of almonds makes a nutritious snack, with a one-ounce serving providing 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats. These unsaturated fats may play a role in decreasing the total and the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol level, and reducing one’s risk for heart disease. Almonds are a great ingredient to add to plant-based burger patties, smoothies, homemade granola, salads and more.

5. Orange juice, calcium-fortified

1 cup fortified orange juice = 347 mg (27% DV)

If you are not a fan of plant-based beverages, then drinking calcium-fortified orange juice could be another option for meeting your calcium needs. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one cup of orange juice counts as one serving of fruit, so enjoying juice in moderation is a way to up your intake. The Guidelines also suggest that 100% fruit juice in moderate amounts can be part of a healthy meal pattern, as long as adults keep their consumption to no more than ten fluid ounces each day.

6. Oat milk

A coffee with oat milk and a jar of homemade oat milk
CREDIT: CASEY BARBER

1 cup oat milk = 350 mg (27% DV)

Looking for a dairy-free and a nut-free plant-based alternative to cow’s milk? Oat milk may be the answer. Like almond milk, oat milk has calcium carbonate added in the fortification process. While you can make your own oat milk, commercially-made versions will offer more nutrients due to fortification. Also, keep in mind that oat milk is a low-protein beverage (three grams per cup) that does not have comparable amounts to the cow’s milk and fortified soy beverage counterparts.

7. Mozzarella cheese

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1.5 ounces mozzarella cheese = 333 mg (26% DV)

For the equivalent number of dairy servings according to MyPlate, one serving of mozzarella cheese provides slightly more calcium than one glass of cow’s milk. This soft white cheese also contains healthy bacteria, also known as probiotics, which may help support the digestive and immune systems and fight against inflammation in the body. Mozzarella cheese is super versatile, too. Add it to your favorite pasta, pizzas, risotto, salad or eat it as is.

 

8. Canned sardines

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3.75 ounces canned sardines with oil and bones = 351 mg (27% DV)

Sardines are a rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health, heart health, eye health and more. They are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Sardines are also a source of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. You will not notice that you have eaten their fish bones because they become completely softened in the canning process, and they offer an added calcium boost. Add them to salads, toasts and pasta.

 

9. Canned salmon

easy salmon cakes with dressing

5 ounces canned pink salmon and bones = 312 mg (24 percent daily value)

Like canned sardines, you will also get calcium and vitamin D from the canned salmon, partially thanks to the completely softened bones. Salmon is another protein-rich fish with heart healthy omega-3 fats and B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Choosing canned seafood is a budget-friendly way to add more fish to your diet.

10. Soy milk

1 cup fortified soy milk = 300 mg (23 percent daily value)

While fortified soy milk does not have more calcium than a glass of milk (in fact, they have about the same amount), it is the only plant-based milk alternative that is nutritionally comparable to milk. Despite having nutrients added, such as calcium and vitamin D, it is a good source of protein (six grams per cup) and is ow in saturated fat. You can drink a glass of this plant-based drink to replace cow’s milk for similar nutritional benefits to meet your daily dairy requirements.

How much food from the Dairy Group is needed daily?

The amount of dairy you need depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. For women, the amount can also depend on whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. About 90% of Americans do not get enough dairy, therefore most individuals would benefit by increasing intake of fat-free or low-fat dairy, whether from milk (including lactose-free milk), yogurt, and cheese, or from fortified soy milk or yogurt. Find the right amount for you by getting your MyPlate Plan. For general recommendations by age, see the table below.

What counts as a cup in the Dairy Group?

In general, 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soy milk, or 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the Dairy Group. The table below lists specific amounts that count as 1 cup in the Dairy Group towards your daily recommended intake.

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