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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
Food, serving size
Milligrams of calcium
Almonds, 1 oz (about 24 nuts)
Sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup
Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup
Kale, cooked, 1 cup
Chinese cabbage, cooked, 1 cup
Tofu (with added calcium), 1/4 block
Canned salmon with bones, 3 oz
Calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup (8 fl oz)
Calcium-fortified soy milk, 1 cup (8 fl oz)
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.
CitationsU.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.
Last Revised: January 25, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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