If you know that it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, you also know that you have to eat foods rich in calcium to keep the body in perfect conditions
In general, we tend to overlook their value in our lives. This is why we want to inform you about such an important topic by explaining the properties of this mineral.
Calcium at Different Stages of our Lives
We need to consume vitamin D or sunbathe in order to bind calcium to our bones. We need high quantities of calcium because it is crucial for our bone system.
We need to make sure that we have plenty of calcium during our childhood and adolescence.
Another crucial stage is during the pregnancy and lactation. This is due to the fact that the calcium requirements significantly increase during these periods.
Calcium Requirements of Adults
The daily calcium requirements of an adults range between 800 and 1200 milligrams.
We absorb between a 20% and 40% of the mineral that is present in foods.
That is the reason why the doctors advise taking Vitamins C and D. We can do this by using a food supplement that will improve its absorption or through a careful selection of foods rich in calcium.
Be careful with Oxalates and Phytates
Oxalate, also known as oxalic acid, is an organic acid that is present in many plants. These include green leaf plants, vegetables, fruits, cocoa, walnuts and seeds.
Once it is consumed, oxalates can bind to minerals to form compounds, including calcium oxalate and iron oxalate. This happens mainly in the colon, but it can also occur in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.
On the other hand, phytates, which are another type of acid made from plants, can also lower the absorption of calcium. They are mainly found in whole products, as well as kidney beans, seeds and/or walnuts. This acid can bind to calcium and hinder its digestion and absorption.
Even though these foods are advised due to their properties and nutritional richness, it is necessary to keep these facts in mind. This means that you should consider moderating their consumption with other sources of calcium.
Which foods are rich in Calcium?
There are many sources of calcium. Now, we are going to name a few of the most important ones which are easily available for our diet:
- Parmesan cheese is one of the foods with a higher calcium content: 1183mg every 100g, which is almost a 150%.
- Squids and octopus provide 144mg of calcium (18%) every 100g.
- Canned clams and cockles provide 142mg of calcium every 100 grams (17.7%). In other words, it offers more calcium than the same amount of milk.
- Oysters: If you eat 100 grams, you will be gettin 130mg of calcium.
- Prawns: It provides 115mg of calcium every 100 grams.
- Mussels: 80mg every 100 grams that you eat.
- Chia seeds are an extraordinary source of calcium, since they can provide 630mg of calcium every 100g (78.8%).
- Tofu is made up from soy, which is why it is low in calories and it has high levels of calcium, around a 20% more than cow milk itself.
- The same happens with egg, a yolk can provide a considerable amount of this nutrient, around 53mg (6.7%).
What is the top Calcium-rich food?
Some of the foods with the best calcium bioavailability are milk and dairy products: yogurts, cheese, cottage cheese, butter and cream.
But the truth is that some vegetables exceed these amounts.
The following table shows the dairy sources and its calcium supply:
|Dairy Product (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
|Whole Cow Milk||125mg (15.6%)|
|Goat Milk||134mg (16.75%)|
|Cottage Cheese||85mg (10.6%)|
|Semi cured cheese||760mg (95%)|
Which are the top Calcium-rich Fruits?
There are many delicious and healthy foods, but we want to highlight kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, figs, lemons, plums, papaya and currants (also called the “miraculous fruit”). Brebas are also excellent sources (they come from the fig tree, the fig grows in autumn and the breba in spring)
|Fruit (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
Which are the top Calcium-rich Vegetables?
Those that have green leaf are the best because they have a high calcium content. For example, spinach, chard, broccoli, garlic, leek, parsley, lettuce, kale. But let’s not forget about onion, pumpkin and tomato, even though if their calcium content is not as high as the others.
|Vegetable (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
Which are the top Calcium-rich Fish?
Sardines are an excellent natural source of calcium. Some experts also mention herring, cod, sole, bream, sea bream or salmon. The nutritionist advise including them in the diet three times a week.
|Fish (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
Which are the top Calcium-rich Legumes?
Soy is one of the best sources of calcium among the leguminous family. Soy milk is an excellent alternative for those who suffer lactose intolerance. Pinto beans, lupins, chickpeas and lentils are also great alternatives to obtain this nutrient.
|Legume (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
Which are the top Calcium-rich Nuts?
Let’s not forget about nuts, these foods are renowned sources of energy. Moreover, they are excellent calcium carriers. The most calcium-rich foods from this group are almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, chestnuts or cashews.
|Nuts (per 100g)||Amount of Calcium|
- “Los macronutrientes y los micronutrientes” Fabian Ávila 2016
- “Micronutrientes, vitaminas y minerales” Antonio Blanco 2012
- “Tratado de nutrición – Bases fisiológicas y bioquímicas de la nutrición” Ángel Gil, Editorial Panamericana 2010.
- Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
- Calcium, Vitamin D and Bone Mineral Density
- If you need Calcium supplements, you can purchase some here
- Other Non-dairy Sources of Calcium
- Calcium Deficiency - Osteoporosis