The 10 Foods with the Most Calcium and Their Benefits

We're going to tell you which are the foods with the most calcium so that you ensure the bone health of your body and prevent osteoporosis.
The 10 Foods with the Most Calcium and Their Benefits
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 15 July, 2023

Calcium is one of the essential nutrients that the body requires. Its daily intake is required to avoid incurring a deficit situation. For this reason, we’re going to tell you about the foods with the most calcium so that you can include them in your diet.

Keep in mind that one of the bases of healthy eating is variety. The best thing is to ensure the intake of different products on a regular basis to reduce the risk that the levels of some micronutrients are low.

What’s the function of calcium?

Within the body, calcium performs many different functions. For example, it’s an element that allows muscle contraction, as well as the transmission of the nerve impulse.

In addition, this mineral is a major part of bone tissue. When the intake isn’t correct, you can experience a loss of density in the bones that increases the risk of fracture in the medium and long term. This is evidenced by a study published in the journal Nutrients.

In any case, the intestinal absorption of the element is limited. It can depend on several factors. For example, the presence of fiber in food decreases the bioavailability of the nutrient. In turn, it’s essential to ensure that vitamin D levels are in an optimal range. This element increases the absorption and fixation of calcium in the bones.

According to research published in the Frontiers of Hormone Research journal, the calcium-vitamin D binomial is key to maintaining good bone health. Both nutrients help prevent the development of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis.

The foods with the most calcium

Next, we’re going to tell you about the foods with the most calcium. It’s important that they appear in the diet frequently to avoid deficits.

1. Cheese is one of the foods with the most calcium

Cheese is the food with the highest calcium content that we can find. It can provide up to 850 milligrams of the mineral for every 100 grams of product. Taking into account that the recommended daily amount is 800 milligrams, through the intake of cheese, this amount it easy to meet the needs.

In addition, this food contains proteins of high biological value. These contain all the essential amino acids, plus a good score for digestibility.

2. Canned sardines

Sardines belong to the group of oily fish. These foods have high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids; specifically, the omega-3 series. Thanks to these lipids, the risk of developing cardiovascular problems is reduced, as stated by research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

In addition, the omega-3 themselves help to modulate the inflammatory mechanisms of the body, preventing them from being promoted excessively. As a result of this property, the incidence of joint ailments is reduced.

As if all this weren’t enough, canned sardines have small and soft bones, which are usually consumed as well. The best thing about these structures is that they have calcium. In fact, for every 100 grams of sardines in oil, 400 milligrams of the mineral are obtained. This is a very high amount.

Experts recommend the presence of sardines in the diet of athletes and women. In both cases, the bones may be subject to greater wear and tear.

Calcium in oily fish.
Oily fish like sardines not only provide calcium through their edible bones, but also contribute healthy fatty acids.

3. Almonds and hazelnuts are among the foods with the most calcium

Nuts are very recommended foods, as they stand out for their high nutritional density. They have protein, high-quality fatty acids, and essential micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. At the same time, they’re a source of fiber.

We mustn’t forget that among the different kinds of nuts, almonds and hazelnuts stand out for their calcium content. One hundred grams of these foods are capable of providing up to 240 milligrams of the mineral. For this reason, they can help ensure good health on a structural level. They’re perfect foods to snack on between meals.

4. Shrimp

The sea offers a wide range of foods that are beneficial to health. Among them, we have to mention shrimp, given its high calcium content. Every 100 grams of shrimp provide 220 milligrams of this nutrient.

And it’s not only a source of micronutrients. It also stands out for its protein content of high biological value. Therefore, it’s a perfect food for athletes or for people who are interested in losing weight.

Shrimp can be eaten alone on the grill or included in a wide variety of different preparations, improving its nutritional density. As much as possible, this food should be introduced into the diet.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the most beneficial products in the diet. Not only does it have protein and calcium, but it’s also capable of providing probiotic bacteria. These selectively colonize the digestive tract to generate a benefit for the host. There’s evidence that they’re helpful in preventing and fighting antibiotic-induced diarrhea.

At the same time, the regular administration of probiotic bacteria is key to reducing the incidence of intestinal-type inflammatory diseases. It’s essential to ensure that the microbiota is competent to avoid digestive disorders.

As far as calcium content is concerned, yogurt has between 180 and 120 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of product, depending on the variety. It’s always advisable to opt for the natural type, as food additives could have a harmful effect on the microbiota, reducing bacterial density and diversity. This is stated by a study published in the journal Nutrients.

6. Chickpeas

We can’t talk about foods rich in calcium without mentioning chickpeas. In general, legumes stand out for their micronutrient content. However, something important must be taken into account, and it’s that the fibers could partially block their absorption.

For this reason, it’s important to cook chickpeas over low heat for a long time so that they soften and the availability of the minerals isn’t altered as much. In addition, this method also achieves easier digestion.

Another option to avoid the side effects of excess fiber is to subject the chickpeas to a mechanical grind, making hummus. The breakage of these products prevents the fibers from developing their full potential in the internal environment.

Bowls of dry chick peas.
The method of preparing chickpeas must be chosen carefully to improve intestinal absorption and avoid flatulence.

7. Cow’s milk: The drink richest in calcium

There’s a great deal of controversy surrounding the consumption of cow’s milk. The detractors affirm that this food could be full of toxic components, such as traces of antibiotics.

The truth is that there’s no scientific evidence for such claims. In fact, nutrition experts recommend its consumption on a regular basis. It’s a good source of essential nutrients such as proteins of high biological value, fatty acids, and minerals.

However, you always have to resort to the full version. Milk contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A and D. If the fat is removed from the milk, both nutrients are lost.

Regarding calcium content, cow’s milk provides 130 milligrams of the mineral per 100 milliliters. If we talk about milk from other animals, the concentration of the nutrient varies, but in any case, it’s still significant.

8. Green leafy vegetables: Foods rich in calcium

Green leafy vegetables aren’t just high in fiber and antioxidants. They’re also a source of many essential micronutrients.

Calcium is a good example of them. Products such as chard, thistle, spinach, or leeks are capable of providing 110 milligrams of the mineral for every 100 grams of product, helping to complete the daily requirements.

As a general rule, the presence of these edibles in the diet is highly recommended. Its intake is usually related to good health. Its regular consumption has even been associated with a lower risk of developing complex diseases.

9. Olives

Olives are another one of the foods with the most calcium. We’re talking about a smaller contribution–63 milligrams of the mineral per 100 grams–although it’s still significant. These foods can be included in the regular diet in a very simple way, as they stand out for their great versatility.

At the same time, olives have a healthy lipid profile. They provide fatty acids from the omega-3 series, which helps to modulate the omega-3 / omega-6 ratio in the diet. Keeping this ratio close to 1 has been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

10. Eggs

For many years, the presence of eggs in the diet was limited due to their supposed negative influence on serum cholesterol levels. However, we currently know that the intake of these foods doesn’t cause dyslipidemia and isn’t associated with an increased cardiovascular risk.

The truth is that eggs are foods that stand out for their high nutritional density. They’re a source of proteins of high biological value and contain vitamins and minerals in the yolk. Among the latter, special mention must be made of calcium, as two eggs provide 50 milligrams of it.

In addition, it shouldn’t be forgotten that eggs are one of the few products that have vitamin D. For this reason, they’re considered beneficial for bone health.

Eggs with vitamin D and calcium.
Eggs have vitamin D, and it’s not common to find foods with this nutrient.

Strategies to ensure good bone health

Now you know which foods have the most calcium, but this won’t be enough to ensure good bone health. It’s also necessary to ensure that the endogenous production of vitamin D is sufficient. To do this, you’ll have to expose yourself to sunlight on a regular basis, although with some moderation.

Likewise, it’s essential to promote the practice of strength exercise. Physical activity is a protective factor against the development of many chronic and complex diseases, and osteoporosis is no exception. Playing sports improves bone mineral density and prevents losses associated with aging.

To ensure calcium levels are within healthy ranges, you should consume the foods listed above frequently. All of them are categorized as healthy, fresh, or low-processed.

At the same time, despite the fact that many are characterized by their fatty nature, we’re talking about quality lipids that are positive for the body. They represent beneficial nutrients that must also appear in the diet on a regular basis.

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