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Nonmilk Sources of Calcium

Topic Overview

Milk, yogurt, and cheese provide a lot of calcium. But there are other foods that have calcium, such as kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage. You can also get calcium by eating the soft bones of canned sardines and canned salmon. And calcium is sometimes added to tofu, soy and rice drinks, fruit juice, and cereal.

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

Almonds, 1 oz (about 24 nuts)

75

Sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup

22

Vegetables and greens

Food, serving size

Milligrams of calcium

Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup

62

Kale, cooked, 1 cup

94

Chinese cabbage, cooked, 1 cup

158

Miscellaneous foods

Food, serving size

Milligrams of calcium

Tofu (with added calcium), 1/4 block

163

Canned salmon with bones, 3 oz

181

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

349

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

299

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.

Some people who avoid dairy foods take supplements to be sure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

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

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2012). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available online: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised January 25, 2013

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