Calcium is necessary for the growth and maintenance of strong teeth and bones, nerve signaling, muscle contraction, and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in calcium can lead to numbness in fingers and toes, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms. Conversely excess calcium (particularly from supplements) can lead to kidney stones, calcification of soft tissue, and increased risk of vascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. The DV for calcium is 1000mg. Below is a list of high calcium foods, for more, see the extended list of calcium rich foods.
01. Dried Herbs
Although dried herbs are rarely used in large portions, adding in a few extra pinches to all your sauces, soups, and stews is a great way to get more calcium into your diet. Dried savory tops the list with 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving (213%DV), that is 85mg (9% DV) per tablespoon. It is followed by celery seed with 124mg (12%DV) of calcium per tablespoon, dried thyme with 57mg (6% DV) per tblsp, dried dill with 53mg (5% DV) per tblsp, dried marjoram with 40mg (4%DV) per tblsp, dried rosemary with 38mg (4% DV) per tblsp, sage, sisymbrium, oregano, spearmint, parsley, poppy seed, chervil and finally dried basil with 21mg of calcium (2% DV) per tablespoon.
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The amount of calcium in cheese depends on type and variety and Parmesan is the highest with 1376mg of calcium per 100g serving (138% DV), or 386mg (38% DV) per ounce, and 69mg (7% DV) per tablespoon. It is followed by Romano with 298mg (30% DV) of calcium per ounce, Gruyere with 283mg (28% DV) per ounce, Mozzarella, Swiss, Cheddar, Hard Goat cheese, and finally Provolone with 212mg of calcium (21% DV) per ounce.
03. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds provide the most calcium when they are roasted or dried with 989mg (99% DV) of calcium per 100g serving, or 277mg (28%DV) per ounce, and 88mg (9% DV) per tablespoon. Sesame Butter (Tahini) provides about half the amount of calcium with 426mg (43%DV) of calcium per 100g serving, 119mg (12% DV) per ounce, and 64mg (6% DV) per tblsp.
Tofu is most commonly found in Eastern foods, particularly Chinese food. Fried tofu provides 372mg (37% DV) of calcium per 100g serving, or 104mg (10%DV) per ounce, and 48mg (5% DV) in an average 13 gram piece. Tofu prepared with calcium sulfate can provide much much higher levels.
Almonds are a great source of calcium whether dry roasted or made into butter. Almonds will provide 266mg (27% DV) of calcium per 100g serving, 367mg (37% DV) per cup, and 74mg (7% DV) per ounce (~22 Almonds).
06. Flax Seeds
Perhaps better known for their omega-3 fats, flax seeds also provide calcium with 255mg (26% DV) per 100g serving, 428mg (43% DV) per cup, and 26mg (3% DV) per tablespoon. Beware however, as milled or whole flax seeds provide calcium but refined flax seed oil provides no calcium whatsoever.
07. Yogurt, Milk, and Other Dairy Products
Low fat dairy products provide slightly more calcium than full fat. Low fat yogurt provides the most calcium with 183mg (18% DV) per 100 gram serving, 415mg (42% DV) per cup. Skim milk provides 306mg (31% DV) per cup, and whole milk provides 276mg (31% DV) per cup.
08. Green Leafy Vegetables (Turnip, Mustard, and Dandelion Greens, Collards, Kale)
Dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium raw or cooked. Raw turnip greens provide the most calcium with 190mg (19% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 105mg (10% DV) in a chopped cup. It is followed by Dandelion greens which provide 103mg (10%DV) per cup, Kale 9% DV per cup, Mustard Greens 6% DV per cup, and Collard greens 5% DV per cup.
09. Brazil Nuts
Possibily the largest of all nuts, brazil nuts are a great source of calcium. Brazil nuts provide 160mg (16% DV) of calcium per 100 gram serving, 213mg (21% DV) per cup, and 45mg (4% DV) per ounce (or about 6 nuts).
Herring is a high vitamin D food which aids in the absorption of calcium. Herring provides 74mg (7% DV) of calcium per 100 gram serving or 106mg (11% DV) per fillet, and 63mg (6% DV) per 3 ounce serving.