Friday, October 23, 2009

Calcium sources per 200 calories

Using the search tool at, I searched for foods highest in calcium per 200 calories in all categories. I wanted to get the truth about the relative calcium contribution of milk vs. other foods.
Listed below are some grossly simplified search conclusions of mine, followed by selections from the list. This format doesn't make it easy to know how much calcium you got today, but it does make it easy to see how much calcium you would relatively get by supplying your daily calories using different foods. I hope I get the energy to do the same thing by calcium per 100-grams. That will make nuts, meats, and cheeses look great, I bet.
By the way, don't overlook the dietary calcium contribution of hard water.

  • After removing non-caloric foods like salt from the top of the list, Mozzarella cheese is the first dairy product at number 42. Non-fat milk is number 57.
  • Lumping food groups as calcium sources and estimating the median calcium content, I get vegetables 200-1500, dairy 200-1000, fruit 250-500, fish 50-400, nuts 15-100, grains 30-60, eggs 30, beef 10-30
  • Boiling apparently leaches calcium out of food. All boiled food variations were lower in calcium.
  • By this measure, it looks like leafy green vegetables and cheeses are the super sources, cow milk and lots of varied vegetables are the good sources, fruits and legumes are generally the okay sources, and most fishes and nuts are poor sources.


mg of Calcium
per 200 calories
1290Cheese, mozzarella, nonfat
1183Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt (many greens are high measuring by calories)
900Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
698Milk, nonfat, fluid, protein fortified, with added vitamin A (fat free and skim)
581Yogurt, plain, low fat, 12 grams protein per 8 ounce
431Broccoli, frozen, chopped, unprepared
407Fish, salmon, pink, canned, drained solids with bone (highest fish except mollusk)
340Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried
377Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat
340Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried
365Tomatoes, red, ripe, canned, packed in tomato juice
343Peppers, chili, green, canned
305Beans, snap, green, frozen, all styles, microwaved (green beans)
270Milk, chocolate, fluid, commercial, whole
257Lettuce, iceberg
253Nuts, coconut water (liquid from coconuts)
243Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
236Peas, edible-podded, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt [Snowpeas, Sugar snap peas]
220Limes, raw
205Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, with salt
183Carrots, baby, raw
163Yogurt, chocolate, nonfat milk
174Fish, perch, mixed species, cooked, dry heat
130Beans, white, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, with salt
91Milk, human, mature, fluid
86Refried beans, canned, fat-free
27Fish, cod, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat
19Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids
20-90Most other nuts

1 comment:

kdhaws said...

The safety of cow milk has been challenged by Dr.J ( I would like to see more of the greens included, as they are possibly the most logical choice for calcium (other than supplementation) if cow milk is eliminated.

Not all sources of calcium are equally bio-available. Wiki has a good article on calcium: