If you think you need more dietary calcium, you could take calcium pills, but food sources are considered superior. The USDA points out that, in addition to building your daily value of 1,000 milligrams, calcium foods contribute extra nutrients to your diet that mineral supplements don’t provide. Foods that do double duty in this manner are nutrient dense, offering significant vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients within relatively few calories. Get your daily calcium from low-fat food sources.
Dairy products are among the most widely available calcium foods and have the some of the highest content of this mineral, as well as significant protein. Due to its condensed nature, yogurt contributes the most per serving, with 452 milligrams of calcium per 8 ounces of plain, fat-free varieties. The USDA Nutrient Database also lists 8 ounces of milk as strong in calcium, with about 300 milligrams in reduced-fat, unflavored varieties. Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, cheddar and muenster cheeses are all high in calcium, with over 200 milligrams per 1-ounce serving. Milk also contains vitamins A and D, potassium and magnesium, while cheese and some yogurts do not.
While most fish are low in calcium, a few provide strong daily values in 3 ounces, along with protein and some B vitamins. Moderate calcium-content sources with more than 50 milligrams include halibut, 51 milligrams; haddock, 63 milligrams; rainbow trout, 73 milligrams; and ocean perch, 116 milligrams. Greater concentrations of calcium, as well as vitamin D, are found in the edible bones of canned pink salmon with 181 milligrams and canned sardines with 325 milligrams, according to the USDA.
Leafy greens represent vegetable group sources of calcium, along with various combinations of magnesium, potassium, iron, folate and vitamins A, C and E. Cooking greens raises their calcium values, with 1 cup of cooked spinach offering the most, at 291 milligrams. Additional greens to eat for calcium include collards, 266 milligrams; turnip greens, 249 milligrams; and kale, 179 milligrams. White-colored beans such as white, navy and Great Northern all provide moderate calcium content in 1 cup.
Enriched cereals and cooked dry beans and peas make steady dietary sources of calcium. Check the nutrition facts on cereal labels to find those with significant added calcium. The USDA notes that some brands of tofu and soymilk are processed with calcium citrate, providing high calcium content per 1-cup serving, as well.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.