Food High in Calcium

Food high in Calcium will provide the vital mineral for good bone health. The body has more than 99% of calcium in the bones. Calcium is also necessary for blood clotting, muscle and nerve function.

Calcium and phosphate metabolism are controlled by parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitonin and vitamin D. Plasma calcium concentration is highly controlled within the body. It is essential that calcium intake is adequate otherwise PTH takes calcium from the skeleton. It would be replaced once dietary intake is abundant.


The skeleton is constantly being transformed, that is bone deposition and bone resorption are ongoing. Bone loss occurs when bone resorption exceeds formation.


If you eat food high in calcium and therefore calcium intake is sufficient, calcium bone density increases. This will peak at about 20-25 years of age, and gradually decline later in life. The peak bone mass that is reached is a good indicator to the chance of osteoporosis later in life. The better the peak reached, the less chance of developing osteoporosis.

The RDI for calcium changes by age and gender.


How much Calcium do You Need?

Age or stage of life Recommended calcium intake (milligrams)
Women 800
After menopause 1000
During pregnancy 1100
During lactation 1300
Men 800
Infants Up to 6 months 300-500
Children 1-7 years 800
Girls 8-11 years 900
12-15 years 1000
16-18 years 800
Boys 8-11 years 800
12-15 years 1200
16-18 years 1000


”Eating for Peak Performance” – Rosemary Stanton 2nd Edition p.122


Food High in Calcium

Milk & Soy Foods – Calcium (mg) per 250ml
Skim milk 375
Calcium fortified 500
Dairy Wise 300
Hilo milk 310
Whole milk 275
Flavoured milks 300
Sustagen 250ml 400
Sustagen Sport 200ml with water 400
So Good 290
So Good Lite 290
Tofu, firm (calcium coagulant) 100g 160
Tofu, soft (calcium coagulant) 100g 80
Yoghurt – Calcium (mg) per 100g
Plain, natural 290
Low fat, natural 360
Whole, fruit flavour 260
Low fat, fruit flavour 320
Cheese – Calcium (mg) per 30g
Cheddar 240
Edam 260
Processed 200
Camembert, Brie 150
Ricotta 100
Cottage 30
Dairy Desserts
Ski Double Up 200g 245
Fruche, low

fat 200g

Ice cream 1 scoop 65
Custard 100ml 150
Other foods – Calcium per serve
Almonds 30g 70
Brazil nuts 30g 55
Peanuts 30g 20
Peanut butter 1 Tbsp 10
Sardines & bones 50g 175
Salmon & bones 50g 150
Prawns 100g 150
Meat, chicken 100g 20
Baked beans 1 cup 90
Kidney beans, chick peas ½ cup 60
Soy beans ½ cup 80
Tahini 1 Tbsp 90
Sesame seeds 3 Tbsp 30g 40
Broccoli 1 cup cooked 30
Bread 1 slice 20
Pasta 1 cup 10
Rice 1 cup 5
Egg 35
Milk chocolate 50g 125
Dark chocolate 50g 25
Fresh fruit average 20
Fruit juice 250ml 25

Glenn Cardwell – Gold Medal Nutrition, Second Edition 1999 p.78




The best food high in calcium are dairy products. They are not only the richest source of calcium, but they also help increase the absorption of calcium due to their lactose content. The average Westerner consumes about 70% of their calcium from dairy foods


Osteoporosis is one of the more serious side effects of calcium deficiency. If you require a calcium supplement, then it is best to have one containing vitamin D as it helps to increase calcium absorption from the intestine (e.g. Caltrate with vitamin D).


In Australia, statistics show that about 1/3 males and nearly half of females over 60 years of age have some type of osteoporosis. Symptoms include stooped posture, hip fractures or brittle bones.

Osteoporosis is defined as bone density 2.5 or more standard deviations below the age-matched mean. Osteopaenia, or sports osteopaenia as it is more commonly known, is classified as bone density levels 1 – 2.5 standard deviations below the mean.


Groups at Risk of Calcium Deficiency

  • Vegans
  • Diets high in salt, protein, alcohol or caffeine (as these increase calcium excretion in the urine)
  • Eating disorder sufferers
  • Low energy, restricted, and fad dietersRisk Factors for Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is the total decrease in bone mass. This leads to issues such as bone fractures, particularly of the wrist, spine and hip. Osteoporosis has many risk factors, which are divided into two categories: non-modifiable and modifiable. It is best to focus on the modifiable factors, as these can be changed to help decrease the chance of osteoporosis.

    Non-modifiable Risk Factors of Osteoporosis


  • Caucasian and Asian women who are small boned
  • Female gender
  • Age
  • Family history of osteoporosisModifiable Risk Factors of Osteoporosis


  • High protein intake
  • High caffeine intake
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol intake
  • Prolonged bedrest (can lead to bone loss)
  • Absence of gravity (e.g. astronauts) can lead to bone lossAll of the above factors contribute to a reduction in calcium absorption


    Positive modifiable factors include:


  • Eat food high in calcium: in particular for pregnancy, breastfeeding, post-menopause, adolescents and amenorrhoeic athletes
  • weight lifting or weight bearing exercise; greater physical stress and compression on a bone leads to greater size and strength.Snacks to increase Calcium Intake

    Increasing your calcium intake doesn’t need to be difficult. It also doesn’t have to mean drinking truckloads of milk! Here are some other suggestions for increasing your calcium intake:


  • Soup made with skim milk
  • Evaporated skim milk in curries
  • Wholegrain cereal and skim milk
  • Fruit salad and low fat milk
  • Sardines on toast
  • Vegetable stir fry with tofu
  • Low fat smoothies
  • Milk based coffee



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