What Foods Are Highest In Calcium?

Calcium-containing foods as calcium sources

As a rule, you do not have to take any dietary supplements to ensure an adequate supply of calcium. Many foods are good sources of calcium. It is important not to limit yourself to just one food group . In addition to the well-known sources of calcium, milk and milk products, there are also many other foods that are suitable for a calcium-rich diet. A balanced diet also ensures that you consume all other important nutrients in sufficient quantities.

Calcium-rich mineral water

Mineral water that is labeled as containing calcium must contain at least 150 milligrams of calcium per liter . Mineral water containing calcium is a natural product and can be a good alternative to milk and milk products. Especially vegans and people with lactose intolerance can benefit from it. As studies show, the body can absorb the calcium contained in mineral water just as well as from milk and milk products. According to some studies, the so-called bioavailability of the mineral from mineral water is even better.

Calcium foods: dairy products

Milk and milk products such as yoghurt and cheese are particularly rich in calcium. The following table gives an overview of the calcium content of milk and various milk products (calcium content in mg/100 g food):

  • Lean quark: 90
  • Yoghurt (3.5%): 120
  • Kefir: 120
  • Mozzarella: 450
  • Feta: 500
  • Buttermilk: 545
  • Camembert (45 % Fett i. Tr.): 570
  • Whole milk (3.5%) 600
  • Goat cheese (sliced ​​cheese, 50% fat in dry matter): 800
  • Edamer (40 % Fett i. Tr.): 670
  • Gouda (48 % Fett i. Tr.): 750
  • Parmesan: 1160
  • Emmentaler (45% Fat in. Tr.): 1030

Milk is an important supplier of calcium. The average calcium content of milk is approx. 120 mg per 100 g milk. The calcium requirement would therefore be covered by the consumption of one liter of milk or five glasses per day, which is unrealistic and in combination with yoghurt and e.g. B. cheese is more feasible. The recommended intake is achieved by consuming, for example, ¼ l of milk or the corresponding amount of yoghurt and 50 to 60 g of Emmental cheese (approx. 2 slices).

Calcium foods: legumes and grains

For people who do not eat milk and dairy products, there are also vegan calcium-rich foods. This is how much calcium is in various cereals (products) and legumes (calcium content in mg/100 g food):

  • Rice, polished, raw: 6
  • Brown rice: 16
  • Wholemeal wheat bread: 31
  • Pumpernickel: 55
  • Rye: 37
  • Oatmeal (whole grain): 65
  • Lenses: 65
  • Beans (white): 115
  • Chickpeas: 120
  • Soybeans: 200
  • Amaranth: 215

Calcium-rich vegetables

Especially green vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli or herbs are rich in calcium. A selection of different calcium-rich vegetables and herbs is given in the following table (calcium content in mg/100 g food):

  • Nettle: 700
  • Basil, fresh: 369
  • Parsley: 179
  • Kale, raw: 212
  • Garden cress: 214
  • Dandelion leaves: 158
  • Spinach, raw: 117
  • Chives: 129
  • Fenchel, spirit: 38
  • Broccoli, cooked: 87
  • Horseradish, raw: 105
  • Mangold, raw: 103
  • Purslane, raw: 95
  • Leek, raw: 63
  • Rocket: 160

Nuts and seeds rich in calcium

Nuts and seeds should not become the main food due to their high fat content. However, you can refine many dishes and at the same time increase the calcium content of the food consumed. The following table provides an overview of which seeds and nuts are particularly rich in calcium (calcium content in mg/100 g of food):

  • Peanuts, roasted: 65
  • Walnut kernels: 87
  • Sunflower seeds: 98
  • The Paranus: 130
  • Pistachio nuts: 130
  • Hazelnut kernels: 225
  • Almonds: 252
  • Sesame together: 783
  • Poppy seeds: 1460

Calcium-rich foods: Meat, fish & eggs

This is how much calcium is in meat, fish and eggs (calcium content in mg/100 g of food):

  • Pig, Cordon Bleu: 110
  • Liverwurst, coarse: 41
  • Chicken, breast, with skin, raw: 14
  • Rind, Filet, raw: 3
  • Sardine in oil: 330
  • Salt herring: 112
  • Mussel, raw: 27
  • Shrimp, bought: 92
  • Cod: 26
  • Salmon, smoked: 23
  • Tuna in oil: 7
  • Chicken egg, whole, boiled: 54

Calcium: It is important for this

Calcium is an important mineral that is essential for the body to survive. The largest part, i.e. 99% of the total calcium in the body, is bound in bones and teeth and gives them stability. In addition, calcium fulfills other functions:

  • It is involved in blood clotting
  • keeps the cell walls stable,
  • supports signal transmission in the cells and
  • ensures the smooth transmission of stimuli in the muscles and nervous system.

The body can store calcium in the bones and release it into the blood when needed . As a result, the concentration of the mineral in the blood remains in the normal range for a certain time, even if too little calcium is ingested with the diet.

However, if the calcium level in the blood is too low for a long period of time, the body gets the missing mineral from the stored supplies. The result: the calcium stores empty over time and a calcium deficiency can occur.

This is how a calcium deficiency manifests itself

For example, due to dry skin, brittle nails, straggly hair, muscle cramps, tingling (e.g. in lips, fingers) to cardiac arrhythmia and softening of the bones.

An adequate supply of calcium is particularly important for women to prevent the development of osteoporosis. This is a disease of the skeleton. Typical of this is that the bone mass decreases and the bone becomes brittle.

Since the human body loses calcium every day through sweat, stool and urine, it has to compensate for the loss through nutrition so that there is no deficiency. The recommended calcium requirement varies according to age.

Recommended daily calcium intake according to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE):

  • Adults: 1000 milligrams of calcium
  • Adolescents (13 to 18 years): 1200 milligrams
  • Children (10 to 12 years): 1100 milligrams per day.

Calcium requirements during pregnancy

An adequate supply of calcium is particularly important during pregnancy. This is because the growing baby needs calcium to strengthen its teeth and bones . If the pregnant woman does not consume enough of the mineral through food, the body falls back on the stored calcium reserves, which gradually become empty. In the worst case, a severe calcium deficiency develops, which can lead to insufficient ossification of the skeleton in the baby.

According to the DGE, pregnant women should take in the same amount of calcium as adults in general, namely 1000 milligrams a day . Only if you are younger than 19 years is the recommendation higher, namely 1200 milligrams of calcium per day.

Calcium-rich foods: You should pay attention to this

Eating calcium-rich foods can prevent calcium deficiency . But that alone is not decisive. Because how much of the mineral the body actually absorbs depends on various factors: In addition to age, gender and hormone balance, certain components in food also play a role.

Vegetables such as spinach or rhubarb contain oxalic acid , for example, while foods rich in fiber such as whole grain products or legumes are rich in phytic acid . Together with calcium, poorly soluble complexes are formed from these acids, which the body can only use very poorly . However, phytic and oxalic acid can simply be inactivated by heating them, i.e. cooking the food. Soaking can also reduce the phytic and oxalic acid content of certain foods. Since the acids pass into the cooking or soaking water, you should not continue to use this.

If you eat a lot of raw food, you should also make sure that you eat no more than 50% of your daily food raw . As a rule, a varied, balanced diet also protects against an increased intake of phytic and oxalic acid.

In addition to the acids mentioned, there are other calcium robbers. These include, for example, stimulants such as coffee or table salt . They promote the excretion of the mineral . Foods rich in phosphate (e.g. ready meals, soft drinks, etc.) are doubly unfavorable: Too much phosphate causes, on the one hand, calcium to be broken down more from the bones. On the other hand, it also reduces the absorption of the mineral from the intestine.

But a calcium-rich diet alone is not everything. Sufficient vitamin D is required for calcium to fulfill its function in the body. Vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium from the intestine into the blood . It also plays a role in calcium metabolism and ensures that the incorporation of calcium in the bones works well. Vitamin D is only found in a few foods (e.g. butter or oily fish). However, the body can also produce it itself with the help of sufficient exposure to the sun.

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Written by Jessica Vargas

I am a professional food stylist and recipe creator. Although I am a Computer Scientist by education, I decided to follow my passion for food and photography.

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