Nonmilk sources of calcium

The following nonmilk foods can provide calcium for people who don't include milk in their diets.1

Seeds and nuts

Food, serving size

Milligrams of calcium

Whole almonds, 1 oz (about 23 whole almonds)

70

Sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon

10

Vegetables and greens

Food, serving size

Milligrams of calcium

Turnip greens, 1 cup cooked from raw

197

Broccoli, 1 cup cooked from raw

177

Mustard greens, 1 cup cooked from raw

104

Kale, 1 cup cooked from raw

94

Bok choy (Chinese cabbage), 1 cup cooked from raw

158

Miscellaneous foods

Food, serving size

Milligrams of calcium

Tofu (with added calcium), 1/2 cup (4 oz)

434

Canned salmon with bones, 3 oz

150

Blackstrap molasses, 2 Tbsp (1 fl oz)

344

Calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup (8 fl oz)

300

Calcium-fortified soy milk, 1 cup (8 fl oz)

368

Notice that some greens, notably spinach and Swiss chard, are not included in this list. Even though these foods have a lot of calcium, very little calcium from these foods is available to the body because the foods contain binders that prevent the calcium from being absorbed.

Very few nondairy foods contain as much calcium as milk and milk products. For example, 1 cup (8 oz) of milk provides about 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium. The recommended daily calcium intake for adults is 1,000 mg through age 50 and 1,200 mg for people ages 51 and older, so you would have to regularly eat large amounts of some of these foods to meet your calcium needs. Also, some of the foods, like the nuts and seeds, are quite high in calories and are not practical to eat in the amounts given, at least not on a daily basis. For this reason, some people who avoid dairy take calcium supplements.

If you are concerned about your diet and calcium intake, talk to a registered dietitian.

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Available online: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search.

Last Updated: February 6, 2009

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