To meet your body's calcium needs, try these top calcium-carrying foods.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. The recommended daily allowance of calcium varies depending on age and sex. For example, children ages 4 to 8 years old need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, while children ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 milligrams, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In addition, the IOM states women aged 51 to 70 require 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily, but men of the same age only need 1,000 milligrams.
When we think of foods that are high in calcium, we generally think of dairy products, specifically milk and cheese. These foods do make the top 10 highest in calcium list, but when eating a balanced diet, we should not forget there are other calcium-rich foods.
1. Yogurt. Yogurt tops the list of calcium-rich foods because each 8-fluid ounce serving (of plain, low-fat yogurt) has 448 milligrams of calcium. The creamy dairy treat also offers essential vitamins like choline, folate and vitamin A.
2. Tofu. One-half cup, regular raw tofu, prepared with calcium sulfate, has 434 milligrams of calcium. In addition, it contains 10 grams of protein.
3. Ricotta cheese. Lasagna made with both ricotta and mozzarella cheeses can bring several milligrams of calcium to the dinner table. One-half cup of part-skim milk ricotta cheese contains 337 milligrams of calcium.
4. Milk. Milk is a great calcium source, with one cup of skim milk providing 299 milligrams, or about 30 percent of a body’s daily recommended allowance of calcium.
5. Cheese. A single 1-ounce slice of American cheese has 219 milligrams, while one slice of Swiss cheese offers 221 milligrams. A 1-ounce serving of mozzarella cheese contains 143 milligrams. Low-fat cheeses may contain more or less calcium, depending on the variety of cheese.
6. White beans. White beans can be added to soups, stews and casseroles. One cup of canned white beans has 191 milligrams of calcium, as well as 19 grams of protein and 1,189 milligrams of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral for heart health.
7. Canned salmon. An 8.5-ounce (242-gram) can of pink salmon without any bones or skin contains 145 milligrams of calcium. However, a 3-ounce piece of Atlantic farmed salmon has 8 milligrams of calcium but 309 milligrams of potassium.
8. Blue crab. Seafood can be a nutritional powerhouse. A 3-ounce serving of blue crab has 76 milligrams of calcium plus 280 milligrams of potassium. It also contains selenium and vitamin B12, which help maintain a healthy nervous system.
9. Cottage cheese. Part of the dairy group, cottage cheese can be a healthy choice in a well-balanced diet. A 4-ounce serving of low-fat, 1 percent milk fat cottage cheese contains only 81 calories and 69 milligrams of calcium. It also has 14 grams of protein.
10. Collards. Dark, leafy vegetables like collards are calcium-rich. One cup chopped has 52 milligrams of calcium and is low in calories. Collards are also high in beta carotene (1,383 milligrams) and vitamin A (2,400 milligrams). Broccoli and spinach also contain calcium, with 43 milligrams and 30 milligrams, respectively, for one-cup servings.