Add these calcium-rich foods to your diet for good bone health


Talk about calcium intake, and milk or other dairy products are the first things to come to our mind. However, dairy is not the only source of this much-needed nutrient. Whether you are looking for vegan alternatives to dairy or want more variety in your healthy diet, our list of calcium-rich foods for bones has got your back.

As important as calcium is for our health, the human body cannot produce it on its own. Hence, having a diet filled with calcium-rich foods is of utmost importance. Supplements can also help one achieve their calcium goals.

What is calcium?

The most abundant mineral in the human body, calcium is required for numerous bodily activities. From the healthy growth and maintenance of bones and teeth to muscle function, nerve transmission and blood coagulation, calcium plays a crucial role in our well-being.

Calcium intake is also involved in regulating blood pressure, hormone secretion, and nutrient absorption. Research suggests that calcium and vitamin D may also offer protection against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Not having enough of this nutrient in the body can lead to children not reaching their full potential height. Calcium deficiency could also cause adults to have low bone mass, which may lead to developing osteoporosis in the future, as per the US health agency National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Why are calcium-rich foods important for bones?

Our bones are continuously undergoing restructuring, wherein old bone tissues get broken down and replaced with new ones. According to MedlinePlus, calcium is an essential part of this process as it is required for the formation of new bone tissue.

Additionally, this nutrient is also required to maintain one’s bone density and strength. Without a sufficient amount of calcium, bones may become frail, making them prone to fractures and other related risks. Calcium also plays an important role in regulating the balance between the formation of new bone and bone resorption, which helps in preventing bone loss as a person ages.

However, consuming calcium-rich foods alone isn’t enough unless your vitamin D intake is also adequate. NIH states that vitamin D plays an equally important role in maintaining good bone health as it aids in calcium absorption. The body can only absorb 10 to 15 percent of dietary calcium in case of vitamin D deficiency. However, having optimal levels of vitamin D can take this number up to 30 to 40 percent.

Daily calcium requirement by age

The daily calcium requirement depends on the age and sex of a person, as per NIH. Below listed is the recommended adequate calcium intake per day to maintain good bone health.


  • 0 – 6 months: 200 mg
  • 7 – 12 months: 260 mg
  • 1 – 3 years: 700 mg
  • 4 – 8 years: 1,000 mg
  • 9 – 13 years: 1,300 mg
  • 14 – 18 years: 1,300 mg
  • 19 – 50 years: 1,000 mg
  • 51 – 70 years: 1,000 mg
  • 71 and older: 1,200 mg


  • 0 – 6 months: 200 mg
  • 7 – 12 months: 260 mg
  • 1 – 3 years: 700 mg
  • 4 – 8 years: 1,000 mg
  • 9 – 13 years: 1,300 mg
  • 14 – 18 years: 1,300 mg
  • 19 – 50 years: 1,000 mg
  • 51 – 70 years: 1,200 mg
  • 71 and older: 1,200 mg

These foods are natural sources of calcium

It is important to note that the amount of calcium in each food source may vary. It is best to aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of calcium-rich foods for bones to ensure adequate intake.

Dairy products

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Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are some of the richest sources of calcium. 250 ml of milk contains 300 mg of calcium, while a cup of yoghurt can have up to 450 mg of nutrients. Low-fat or fat-free varieties are recommended for those looking to limit their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Canned seafood

Calcium Rich Foods for Bones
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Making delicious and healthy food doesn’t need to be a Herculean task. Pick up your favourite can of seafood for a scrumptious meal. Canned fish is not just tasty and convenient but also loaded with calcium because of the fish bones present in them. Go for canned salmon, sardines, and shrimp to derive the best benefits. A serving of 85 grams has approximately 170-350 mg of calcium.


Seeds are nutritional powerhouses. Sesame, chia and poppy seeds are laden with not just calcium but also other essential nutrients like plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, copper, iron and manganese. They have a calcium content of 50 to 280 mg per 28 grams based on your choice of seeds.

There are many ways to incorporate seeds into your diet. You can use them as a topping in your salad, have them as a snack or even make dips with them.


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Out of all nuts, almonds have the highest amount of calcium content. A serving of 28 grams of toasted and unblanched almonds has 80 mg of calcium. Not just that, they are also an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese and healthy fats. Including this calcium-rich food in your diet can decrease the risk of blood pressure irregularities and help in maintaining proper body weight as stated by ScienceDirect.


Beans have many health benefits to their credit. Whether or not you follow a plant-based diet, beans can enhance your overall well-being by providing an ample amount of calcium, fibre, protein and even micronutrients like potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and folate. A single cup of beans can have 50 to 100 gms of calcium, depending on which variety you’re choosing.

Fortified orange juice

calcium-rich foods
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According to the World Health Organization, fortified foods are great for deriving important minerals and nutrients. You can include a glass of fortified orange juice in your everyday diet to increase your calcium intake. A serving of 237 ml has a calcium content of 300 mg. Oranges are also a natural source of vitamin C, which improves immunity and brings in good health.


One of the most delicious options out of calcium-rich fruits and vegetables, rhubarb also provides fibre and vitamin K. 100 grams of rhubarb has 866 mg of calcium. It contains prebiotic fibre that further aids in the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.


foods high in calcium
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Rich in antioxidants and fibre, dried figs are a richer source of calcium (162 mg in a serving of 100 grams) as compared to other dried fruits. You can top it with a splash of honey and have it with a smoothie or oatmeal bowl for a nutritious and delicious breakfast.

Butternut squash

Are you or your loved ones picky about food? Why not prepare a wholesome bowl of warm butternut squash or even a butternut apple cake? Loaded with 48 mg calcium in 100 grams (in its uncooked form) along with other important nutrients, butternut squash is a smart and tasty way of sneaking in health in a hearty dish.

Turnip greens

Turnip greens provide the highest amount of calcium per gram as compared to any other fruit or vegetable. A cup of uncooked turning greens contains 80 mg of calcium. Additionally, it is also a rich source of vitamin K and fibre that helps in promoting strong bones and blood sugar management, respectively.

Recipes for calcium-rich dishes

Here are a few easy-to-make yet delicious recipes with some of the most nutritious calcium-rich foods for bones.

Strong Bones Smoothie

sources of calcium
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A smoothie can be a great start to your day. Throw in a bunch of calcium-rich fruits, such as bananas and strawberries, and your choice of milk for a healthy morning drink.


  • ½ litre of milk
  • ½ cup of plain yoghurt
  • ½ medium banana
  • ½ medium orange
  • 3 medium strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ cup collard greens
  • Ice cubes (optional)


  • Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  • Add milk.
  • Add ice if you like your smoothie served cold.
  • Blend until the consistency is smooth.
  • Serve in a mason jar and your smoothie is ready.

Sesame Energy Balls

Ditch the store-bought energy bars that contain a high amount of sugar and opt for homemade sesame energy balls instead. Loaded with calcium and other essential nutrients, this is a healthy pick-me-up snack that you can grab on the go.


  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 3 tablespoons nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons + ¼ cup (for coating) sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    • In a bowl, pour ¼ cup sesame seeds and set it aside.
    • Add the given quantity of nut butter, almonds, dried apricots, sesame seeds, ground ginger and cinnamon powder to a food processor or blender.
    • Blend until the mixture has a crumbly texture.
    • Use an ice cream spoon to scoop out ½ inch balls and use your hands to roll them to perfect spheres.
    • Add the balls to the bowl with sesame seeds so that they are evenly coated.
    • Freeze until firm.

Hero image: Courtesy Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush/Pexels; Featured image: Courtesy Ivan Samkov/Pexels

The post Add these calcium-rich foods to your diet for good bone health appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

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