Mar 13, 2023
My 5 Favorite Foods With Tons of Calcium
Getting the calcium you need daily is vital for building healthy bones and keeping them strong. Calcium also helps with heart and nerve health, and some scientists think it may protect against diabetes.
The only way to get calcium is from outside sources; the body doesn’t make any. Finding tasty foods that help you reach your daily calcium requirements is easy, affordable and delicious!
1. Greek Yogurt
Dairy foods are amazing sources of calcium, but the body also has an easier time absorbing this type of calcium. Greek yogurt is perfect for breakfast on the go. One cup gives you a whopping 245 grams of calcium — around 25–30% of your daily needs. Plus, it contributes to a happy gut thanks to a healthy dose of probiotics.
2. Chia Seeds
Many seeds pack a bunch of calcium into a tiny package, including sesame, poppy and chia seeds. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds give you 14% of your daily calcium. It’s a breeze to add these tasty little seeds to your favorite cereal, yogurt, muffins, smoothies, salad dressings and juices. At the same time, you’re getting tons of iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and omega-3s.
3. Leafy Greens and Legumes
If you’re into collard greens, you have a new reason to love them: a stunning 268 mg of calcium per cup. Another trendy green, kale, gives you almost 100 mg a serving whether you enjoy it baked or in a smoothie. Other top options in this family include mustard greens (165 mg), Swiss chard (102 mg), broccoli (62 mg), Brussels sprouts (60 mg) and green beans (55 mg).
4. Aged Cheeses
In reality, any type of cheese offers tons of calcium, but hard cheeses such as parmesan, gruyere, gorgonzola and Asiago have more. Just one ounce of parmesan cheese — usually a single slice — has over 240 mg of calcium! The protein in cheese makes it an excellent afternoon snack option to calm the munchies.
5. Whey Protein
Not everyone tolerates dairy products well. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the calcium benefits of dairy.
Whey protein isolate, also called protein powder, doesn’t have any significant amount of lactose, so many people who are lactose intolerant can use it. One scoop has 160 mg of calcium. This versatile powder can boost everything from post-workout shakes to pancakes.
Which Is Better: Calcium From Your Diet or Calcium Supplements?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, meeting your daily calcium needs through a good diet is the best option. One advantage is that natural foods give you other vitamins and minerals for bone health along with calcium, such as magnesium and vitamin D. Also, your body absorbs calcium better with smaller amounts in the morning, afternoon and night instead of one big capsule for the whole day.
That said, some people may need to take a calcium supplement, especially if a doctor recommends it. Most men and women need 1,000 mg a day (1,200 mg for women over 50), which is doable but requires focus. If a busy lifestyle or specific dietary restrictions prevent you from getting all the calcium you need, supplements can lend you a helping hand.