Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for proper functioning of the body. For example, research shows that you need calcium to develop and maintain healthy bones and teeth. It also affects muscle function, nerve function, and blood clotting.
Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yoghurt, as well as various varieties of fish like sardines and salmon, are good sources of calcium. In addition, kale and broccoli are two examples of leafy green vegetables that are excellent suppliers of calcium. Other significant sources of calcium-fortified foods are varieties of tofu and orange juice.
As per the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily calcium intake for adults is 1000 mg per day for males and females up to age 50. After that, it changes to 1200 mg for women over 50 and men over 70. However, the exact amount may vary depending on age, sex, and other factors.
Adequate calcium intake is vital for overall health and well-being. But, some people may need more calcium from their diet. Hence, a calcium supplement may be necessary.
Please read on if you have questions about how much calcium you are getting.
List of Calcium Rich Foods with Their Nutritional Value
You must consume enough calcium, an essential nutrient for healthy bones and teeth growth and maintenance. It is also necessary for normal blood clotting and muscle function.
Here is a list of some calcium-rich foods, along with their nutritional value per serving, as suggested by the NIH:
FoodCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Milk (1 cup)2998Yoghurt (1 cup)415-4508-12Cheese (1 oz)200-3006-8
Leafy Green Vegetables
VegetableCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Kale (1 cup)1802.5Broccoli (1 cup)622.5Spinach (1 cup)2455
FoodCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Sardines (3 oz)32521Salmon (3 oz)18121Tuna (3 oz)1221
Nuts and Seeds
FoodCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Almonds756Sesame seeds2805Chia seeds1774
BeanCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Soybeans17515White beans16113Navy beans12813
FoodCalcium (mg)Protein (g)Tofu (4 oz)253-50810Orange juice (1 cup)3002Cereal (1 cup)100-1,0003-4
If interested in getting advice on a calcium-rich diet from a registered dietitian, you can consider our trusted health and fitness platform, HealthifyMe, which offers various tools and resources to help users like you manage their diet and nutrition.
One way it can help you balance your calcium intake is by recommending foods that are high in calcium. Additionally, the platform includes a database of thousands of different foods and their nutritional values. So you can easily track your calcium intake and ensure you get enough of this vital nutrient.
HealthifyMe also offers support from certified nutritionists and fitness professionals. They can provide personalised guidance and advice on balancing your diet and meeting your health goals.
The HealthifyMe Note
It is crucial to have an adequate calcium intake in your diet as it plays a vital role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also necessary to properly function the heart, muscles, and nerves. You can get calcium from various foods, including dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and grains. Nutritionists recommend that adults consume 1000–1200 mg of calcium per day. To ensure that you get enough calcium in your diet, choosing various calcium-rich foods and paying attention to food labels when shopping is essential. In addition, health professionals recommend that one gets calcium from dietary sources rather than supplements, as it is easier for the body to absorb calcium from food.
A 7 Day Calcium Rich Diet Plan Chart
Getting enough calcium in your diet is crucial, as a deficiency can lead to weak bones and osteoporosis. Here is a 7-day calcium-rich diet plan for you:
Day 1 Plan:
MealFoodBreakfastPaneer paratha with a glass of milkMid-morning snackHandful of almondsLunchVegetable korma with brown rice and a glass of lassiEvening snackBaked dhokla with a side of yoghurtDinnerPalak paneer with chapatis and a glass of milk
Day 2 Plan:
MealItemBreakfastMasoor dal (red lentil) chilla (pancake) with a glass of milkMid-morning snackBanana smoothie with added calcium-rich powderLunchTofu tikka masala with brown rice and a glass of chaas (buttermilk)Evening snackSesame seeds and dried apricot trail mixDinnerAloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry) with chapatis and a glass of milk
Day 3 Plan:
MealFoodBreakfastWhole grain dosa (crispy crepe) with a side of yoghurtMid-morning snackCalcium-fortified orange juiceLunchVegetable biryani with a glass of lassiEvening snackRoasted chickpeas with a sprinkle of lemon juiceDinnerTofu and vegetable jalfrezi with roti (Indian flatbread) and a glass of milk
Day 4 Plan:
MealItemBreakfastIdli (steamed rice cakes) with a side of coconut chutney and a glass of milkMid-morning snackHandful of broccoli florets with hummus dipLunchTofu and vegetable kofta (meatball) curry with brown rice and a glass of chaasEvening snackRaw spinach and avocado dip with sliced carrots and celeryDinnerPaneer tikka (grilled paneer) with naan (Indian flatbread) and a glass of milk
Day 5 Plan:
MealItemBreakfastWhole grain upma (semolina porridge) with a glass of milkMid-morning snackCalcium-fortified apple juiceLunchTofu and vegetable korma with brown rice and a glass of lassiEvening snackRoasted pumpkin seedsDinnerAloo Matar (potato and green pea curry) with chapatis and a glass of milk
Day 6 Plan:
MealFoodDrinkBreakfastScrambled tofu with toastGlass of milkMid-morningRaisins and almondsLunchVegetable pulaoGlass of chaasEvening snackBaked kale chipsDinnerPaneer bhurji with parathasGlass of milk
Day 7 Plan:
MealFoodDrinkBreakfastWhole grain oatsGlass of milkMid-morning snackCalcium-fortified smoothieLunchTofu and vegetable jalfreziGlass of lassiEvening snackRoasted edamameDinnerVegetable kofta curryGlass of milk
Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your body absorb and utilise the calcium from these foods. It is also essential to talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian about your specific nutrient needs. As a result, it will help determine the right amount of calcium for your individual needs.
It is crucial to remember that it is just one example of a 7-day calcium diet plan. Keep in mind that everyone’s nutritional needs are different.
Also, the amount of calcium in these foods can change depending on the brand or how they are made. So it is best to consult with a registered dietitian to create a personalised calcium diet plan that meets your individual needs.
Adverse Effects of Calcium Deficiency
Calcium is essential for many body functions. It includes building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, nerve function, muscle function, and blood clotting.
A study shows a deficiency of calcium can lead to several health problems. Some possible effects of calcium deficiency include:
1. Weak Bones and Osteoporosis
Calcium is an essential mineral for healthy bones. When the body does not get enough calcium, it can lead to weak bones or osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become fragile and more prone to fractures.
Hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium levels, can result in muscle cramps, spasms, and tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes.
3. Numbness and Tingling
Calcium is necessary for proper nerve function. A deficiency can cause numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face.
4. Muscle Spasms and Cramps
Calcium ensures proper muscle function. A deficiency can cause muscle spasms and cramps.
5. Teeth and Gums Issues
Calcium is vital for developing and maintaining healthy teeth. A deficiency of calcium can lead to tooth decay and gum problems such as bleeding gums.
6. Decreased Immune Function
Calcium is involved in immune system function. A deficiency can cause a decrease in immune function, making a person more susceptible to infections and diseases.
7. High Blood Pressure
Some studies have suggested that low calcium levels may be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
8. Preterm Labour
Some research has suggested that a calcium deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm labour. Premature babies may suffer from short-term issues like breathing problems or long-term conditions that can cripple them for life.
9. Difficulty with Blood Clotting
Calcium is necessary for proper blood clotting. A deficiency can cause difficulty with blood clotting, leading to an increased risk of bleeding and bruising.
If you sufer from a calcium deficiency, it is crucial to see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may involve taking calcium supplements, making dietary changes to include more calcium-rich foods, and getting more exercise.
Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It is needed for developing and maintaining healthy teeth and bones and for normal blood clotting and muscle function.
The recommended calcium intake for adults is 1000 mg daily for men and women up to age 50 and 1200 mg for women over the age of 50 and men over 70. Dairy items, including milk, cheese, yoghurt, leafy green vegetables, almonds, and some types of seafood, are all excellent sources of calcium.
Getting enough calcium in your diet is vital to maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Still, it is also possible to get too much calcium. Too much calcium can cause constipation and hinder the absorption of other minerals, such as zinc and iron.
If you cannot get enough calcium through your diet, consider taking a calcium supplement after consulting a healthcare professional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What food is highest in calcium?
A. Many foods are high in calcium. Some good sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt, as well as foods and beverages made with them, like smoothies and coffee creamer. Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are also high in calcium. Other sources of calcium include almonds, tofu, and fortified foods like orange juice and breakfast cereals.
Q. Which fruit is rich in calcium?
A. Calcium is found in many different types of fruit, although the amount of calcium in any fruit can vary. Some relatively high-calcium fruits include dried figs, apricots, oranges, mandarin oranges, kiwi fruit, pineapple, papaya, and mango. However, it is essential to note that while these fruits contain calcium, they are not as high as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Therefore, it is a good idea to include a variety of foods in your diet to ensure that you get an adequate amount of this vital mineral.
Q. How can I increase my calcium levels?
A. There are several ways to increase your calcium levels:
Eat calcium-rich foods: Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fish with soft bones (such as salmon or sardines) are all good sources of calcium.Take a calcium supplement: If you are not getting enough calcium from your diet, consider taking a calcium supplement. Calcium supplements are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, and chews.Get more sunlight: Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. So spending time in the sun or having a vitamin D supplement can help your body absorb more calcium.Quit smoking: Smoking can interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium, so quitting smoking may help increase calcium levels.
It is best to consult with a doctor before starting any new supplement regimen or making any dietary changes to ensure it is safe.
Q. Are eggs calcium-rich?
A. Eggs are a good source of calcium. Still, they are not considered particularly high in calcium compared to other foods. One large egg contains about 23 milligrams of calcium, which is about 2% of the daily value for calcium. Even though, it is a significant amount of calcium.but not as much as you can get from other sources, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods. Therefore, to get a significant amount of calcium from eggs, you need to eat a relatively large number of eggs.
Q. Do bananas increase calcium?
A. Bananas do not contain significant amounts of calcium. However, they are a good source of potassium, fibre, and other vital nutrients.
Q. Which vegetables are high in calcium?
A. Some vegetables that are high in calcium include broccoli, okra, spinach, kale, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, and collard greens. These vegetables are also high in other vital nutrients, such as fibre and vitamins K and C. Therefore, you must include multiple vegetables to ensure you get enough nutrients.
Q. Which dry fruit is best for calcium?
A. There are several types of dry fruits that are good sources of calcium. Some examples include almonds, which contain about 347 mg of calcium per 100 grams, and figs, which have almost 150 mg of calcium per 100 grams. Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, prunes, and apricots are also good sources of calcium. It is worth noting that dry fruits are a good source of calcium. But they are also high in calories and sugar. So it is essential to eat them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Q. Is Apple rich in calcium?
A. Apples contain some calcium, but they are not a particularly rich source of this nutrient compared to other foods. For example, a medium apple (182 grams) contains about 19 milligrams of calcium, about 2% of an adult’s recommended intake. On the other hand, a serving of dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yoghurt can contain hundreds of milligrams of calcium. Therefore, it is essential to include a variety of calcium-rich foods in your diet to help ensure that you are getting enough of this critical nutrient.
The Supporting Sources
1. Cormick G, Belizán JM. Calcium Intake and Health. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 15;11(7):1606. doi: 10.3390/nu11071606. PMID: 31311164; PMCID: PMC6683260.
2. Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases
3. Calcium: National Institute of Health
4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health
5. Villa-Etchegoyen C, Lombarte M, Matamoros N, Belizán JM, Cormick G. Mechanisms Involved in the Relationship between Low Calcium Intake and High Blood Pressure. Nutrients. 2019 May 18;11(5):1112. doi: 10.3390/nu11051112. PMID: 31109099; PMCID: PMC6566648.
6. Kumar A, Kaur S. Calcium: A Nutrient in Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2017 Oct;67(5):313-318. doi: 10.1007/s13224-017-1007-2. Epub 2017 May 22. PMID: 28867880; PMCID: PMC5561751.