Home › News › Healthy calcium-rich food recipes Healthy calcium-rich food recipes Published September 21, 2023 Calcium is crucial for the development and lifetime maintenance of healthy bones. Together with other minerals, calcium forms hard crystals that give bones their strength and structure and bones contain over 99% of the calcium in the body. Calcium is also needed for other functions in the body including the heart, muscles, blood, and nerves. Your bones function like a calcium bank. If you do not consume enough calcium, your body will remove what it needs from your bones to use elsewhere. Your body requires calcium every day. Calcium loss from bones is a reason for the deterioration of bone health, strength and density and increased risk of developing osteoporosis. How do our bodies absorb calcium? For the body to properly use the calcium present in the food, adequate vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium from the intestine to support healthy bones. Vitamin D also supports the growth and maintenance of the skeleton and regulates calcium levels in the blood. We need to consume calcium-rich foods to obtain enough calcium from our diet. There is an even greater need to prioritise calcium-rich foods in the diet for postmenopausal women, individuals with lactose intolerance, and individuals who do not consume any dairy. In Australia, adults over 18 years old are recommended to have 1,000 mg of calcium daily. This increases to 1,300 mg daily for women over 50 and men over 70. Calcium can be found in various foods; however, calcium levels vary, so it is important to select foods with calcium content as part of your daily diet. While dairy is a common source of calcium, other food groups can provide calcium and menu options. Focusing on calcium in foods makes it easier to find foods you like to eat and can provide a calcium boost. An easy way to check this is by using lists of calcium content in different food groups. For example, specific vegetables, fruits, beans/lentils, seeds/nuts and even certain meat and seafood can help. Calcium-rich foods are delicious and can help you avoid deficiencies and keep your body healthy. However, talking to a healthcare professional for personalised advice on meeting your calcium needs is always a good idea. A calcium supplement may be required if calcium can not be improved through your diet, but this should be discussed with your doctor. If your vitamin D level is very low or deficient, this would need to be discussed and managed with your doctor, usually with the aid of supplements. What are foods high in calcium? Milk and milk drinks Food 200 mlCalcium (mg)Milk, semi-skimmed 240Milk, skimmed 244Milk, whole 236Milkshake 360Sheep Milk380Coco Milk 54Soy Drink (non-enriched)26Soy Drink (calcium-enriched)240Rice drink22Oat milk16Almond milk90 Yoghurt Food 150 gCalcium (mg)Yoghurt, flavoured 197Yoghurt, with fruit pieces169Yoghurt, natural207 Others FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Tofu120126Seaweed10070Wakame100150 Cheese FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Hard Cheese (e.g. Cheddar,Parmesan, Emmental, Gruyère)30240Fresh Cheese (e.g. CottageCheese, Riccotta, Mascarpone)200138Soft Cheese (e.g. Brie,Camembert)60240Feta60270Mozzarella60242Cream Cheese60180 Cream and desserts FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Cream, double, whipped30ml21Cream full30ml21Custard made with milk, vanilla120g111Ice Cream, vanilla100g124Pudding, vanilla120g120Rice Pudding200g210Pancake80 g62Cheese Cake200g130 Vegetables Food Serving (g)Calcium (mg)Lettuce5019Kale, Collard Greens50(raw)32Bok Choy/Pak Choi50(raw)20SIlverbeet10087Watercress70(raw)60Rhubarb120(raw)103Carrots120(raw)36Tomatoes120(raw)11Broccoli120(raw)112 Beans and lentils FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Lentils80 raw200 cooked40Chick Peas80 raw200 cooked99White Beans80 raw200 cooked132Red Beans80 raw200 cooked93Green/French Beans900 Cooked50 Starchy foods Food Serving (g)Calcium (mg)Pasta (cooked)18026Rice, White (boiled)1804Potatoes (boiled)24014White Bread40 (slice)6Wholemeal Bread40 (slice)12Muesli (cereals)5021Naan6048 Meat, fish and eggs FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Egg5027Red Meat1207Chicken12017Fish (e.g. Cod, Trout,Herring, Whitebait)12020Tuna, canned12034Sardines in Oil, canned60240Smoked Salmon609Prawns15045Oysters100132 Fruits Food Serving (g)Calcium (mg)Orange15060Apple1206Banana15012Apricort12019Currant (dried gooseberry)12072Figs, dried6096Raisins (dried grapes)4031 Nuts and seeds FoodServing (g)Calcium (mg)Almonds3075Wallnuts3028Hazelnuts3056Brazil Nuts3028Sesame Seeds3022Tahini Paste3042 How much calcium is recommended? Recommendations for daily calcium intake vary depending on age. It starts from 500 mg/day for children 1 – 3 years old and raises to 1,300 mg/day for older adults. You can find the whole table of daily calcium intake on our Calcium page, “Calcium & Bone Health“. So when you are an older adult, your needed amount of calcium is 1,300 mg/day can be achieved by eating, for example: 200 ml of milkshake, 360 mg of calcium 150 g of natural yoghurt, 207 mg of calcium 50 g of muesli (cereals), 21 mg of calcium 30 g of hard cheese, 240 mg of calcium 60 g of sardines in oil, 240 mg of calcium 120 g of chicken, 17 mg of calcium 180 g of pasta, 26 mg of calcium 100 g vanilla ice cream, 124 mg of calcium 30 g of almonds, 75 mg of calcium Altogether this list would provide over 1,300mg of calcium and shows how adding certain foods to each meal or snack can help. Do we absorb all the calcium we eat? A calcium-rich diet is the best way to achieve the recommended daily calcium intake. However, not all of the calcium we consume is absorbed by the body, and a small amount is lost and excreted. The recommended intake for your age takes this into account. Calcium absorption depends on many factors, and you can check the details on the above page (Calcium page link). What meals are high in calcium? Several meals have high calcium content. Well-known examples are Greek Yogurt Parfait, Salmon with Broccoli, Spinach and Cheese Omelet, Cottage Cheese and Fruit Bowl, and well-known grandma’s dessert cheesecake! Below we prepared examples of calcium-rich meals. Full recipes are found in Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, a national not-for-profit organisation (jeanhailes.org.au). Calcium-rich food recipes. Recipes by Jean Hailes naturopath and herbalist Sandra Villella Roast chickpea & vegetable salad Here’s an easy and delicious way to get your veggies and a good dose of calcium. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Sardines on toast Sardines on toast can be delicious, even for those who dislike their taste and smell. This recipe combines sardines with robust flavours. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Women’s Health Week smoothie A healthy breakfast or a protein-rich afternoon pick-me-up is important for feeling energized throughout the day. This delicious smoothie, made with antioxidant-packed raspberries and strawberries, tastes great and provides valuable nutrients. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Baked ricotta with blueberries Looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast or dessert option? Try out this yummy grain-free recipe that features the natural sweetness of blueberries and cinnamon. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Roast chickpea & vegetable salad Enjoy a calcium-rich vegetarian dinner with roasted cauliflower and beetroot. Yogurt completes the essential amino acids in this protein-packed dish. Note that calcium content varies depending on production or brand. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Bircher muesli We all know that breakfast is a crucial meal of the day. Studies have shown skipping breakfast can decrease energy and physical activity, resulting in fewer calories burned. Recipe link on the Jean Hailes website Find more recipes on the Jean Hailes website link here. Summary Maintaining strong bones and overall health is crucial, and calcium is the key to achieving this. Challenge yourself by reviewing calcium content in different foods and putting together some meal combos that give you a decent boost of calcium. And think about when you like to eat more calcium…for example a smoothie for breakfast or dessert treat after dinner. The are many options for adding additional calcium to your diet.