8 Foods High in Calcium (AKA Mother Nature's Supplements)

Updated 01/31/18
foods high in calcium
@themodernproper

Although we can always get our vitamins by taking a supplement, eating foods rich in these minerals is a great option as well. We've already discussed foods high in iron and those high in potassium, but what about foods high in calcium? Most of us have had it ingrained in us since childhood that we must (must!) drink enough milk so that we have strong bones and grow up to be healthy. But women need significantly more calcium than men (for reference, women under 50 should consume about 1000 milligrams a day, while women 50 and over are recommended to consume 1200 milligrams).

In case you didn't know, you would need to drink four eight-ounce glasses of skim milk each day to hit your recommended daily value. If you're dairy-free—or just don't like to drink plain milk like me—then you’ll definitely need to consider other options. Below, find eight foods high in calcium that you can easily incorporate into your everyday diet. Chances are you already have some of them in your fridge.

Kale

If you're into this leafy green, then we have good news for you. It is one of the top plant-based sources of calcium. According to Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., professor and department head of nutrition science at Purdue University, two cups of raw kale will give you 201milligrams of calcium. Worth noting: Oxalic acid, which is found in leafy greens like spinach, chard, and beet greens, actually stops calcium absorption. Basically, not all greens are high in calcium.

Sunflower Seeds

These are a great salty snack to keep in your bag for when the hunger pangs start. One tiny tablespoon will give you 88 milligrams of calcium. Since they're fairly low-calorie, it means you can munch on them throughout the day. Try keeping a bag at work and adding them to your salad for lunch (they'll also add some crunchiness).

Broccoli

You've always known broccoli is good for you, but you probably didn't know just how much. One cup of this veggie cooked will give you 6% of your recommended daily value (DV). In addition to that, the food is also high in vitamins C, K, and A; folate; and dietary fiber.

Bok Choy

I had never eaten bok choy until my brother made some in a stir-fry for me this year (it's also known as Chinese cabbage). Not only does the green cook up quickly, but two cups will leave you with 148 milligrams worth of calcium. "It's the one plant food we've studied that has especially high calcium absorption," says Weaver.

Sardines

This canned fish isn't for everyone—but if you do enjoy it, it's easily packable as a light snack. Plus, one can will give you a whopping 888 milligrams of calcium. It's important to note that you have to make sure you get the bone-in sardines since they provide you with a higher calcium content. And it's also worth mentioning that sardines have very low levels of mercury (a win-win).

White Beans

The good thing about beans is that you can add them to pretty much any salad, soup, or chili and they make it better (and heartier). A cup of cooked white beans will give you 13% of your DV, while other beans will give you significantly less calcium. Additionally, research indicates that beans can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Almonds

When it comes to nuts, almonds will give the largest amount of calcium. But a word to the wise: This food is also high in calories, and one cup will run you almost 1000 calories. Throw a mini pack of these in your bag but definitely exercise portion control here. You can also toss some on your morning yogurt for a little punch of calcium.

Tofu

Weaver says that "1.2 servings gives you the same amount of absorbable calcium as a glass of milk." It's key to choose tofu that's been prepared with calcium (yes, this is a thing). Apparently, you can get up to 86% of your DV of calcium in half a cup of this food.

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