General Health

Top 10 Calcium-Rich Foods: Building Strong Bones and Teeth

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 06 September 2023, Updated on - 20 September 2023

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Calcium plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is an essential mineral that our bodies need to function properly. From the time we are born until adulthood, our bones undergo a continuous process of growth and remodelling. Calcium is the key component that ensures this process happens effectively. It helps in muscle contractions, blood clotting, nerve function, and maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. In this article, we will delve into a comprehensive exploration of the top 10 calcium-rich foods, illuminating the path to robust bone and dental health.

What are Calcium-Rich Foods?

Calcium-rich foods are those that contain a high amount of bioavailable calcium. Bioavailable calcium refers to calcium that can be easily absorbed and utilised by the body.

1. How to Incorporate Calcium-rich Foods into Daily Diet

  • Include at least three servings of dairy or non-dairy calcium-rich foods in your daily meal plan.
  • Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products to minimise saturated fat intake.
  • Incorporate a variety of calcium-rich foods to ensure you get a range of nutrients along with calcium.

2. Factors Affecting Calcium Absorption

  • Vitamin D: Adequate vitamin D levels are necessary for the absorption of calcium. Ensure you get enough sunlight exposure or consider taking a supplement if needed.
  • Oxalates and phytates: Certain compounds found in some plant-based foods can bind to calcium, reducing its absorption. However, this effect can be minimized by pairing these foods with vitamin C-rich sources.

Top 10 Calcium-Rich Foods

As an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones as well as supporting various bodily functions, it is vital to incorporate calcium-rich foods into our diet.

1. Milk and its Alternatives

Cow's milk is a great source of calcium, but if you're lactose intolerant or following a plant-based diet, you can opt for alternatives such as:

  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Oat milk fortified with calcium

For fortified plant-based milk, check the labels to ensure that the product contains at least 120 mg of calcium per 100 ml.

2. Yoghurt and Greek yoghurt

Yoghurt is not only rich in calcium but also contains beneficial probiotics that support gut health. Greek yoghurt, in particular, has a higher calcium content compared to regular yoghurt.

3. Cheese varieties

Cheese is a delicious way to add calcium to your diet. Some examples of cheese that are high in calcium are:

  • Parmesan
  • Cheddar
  • Mozzarella
  • Swiss cheese

4. Spinach

Spinach is not only rich in calcium but also contains other essential nutrients like:

It can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, or cooked dishes.

5. Kale

Known as a superfood, kale is loaded with:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamins A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Antioxidants

It can be added to salads, and stir-fries, or used as a base for green smoothies.

6. Collard Greens

Collard greens are a great source of calcium and also provide fibre and vitamin K. They can be steamed, sautéed, or added to soups and stews.

7. Almonds

Almonds are a fantastic source of calcium, providing about 8% of the daily recommended intake per ounce. They are also rich in other bone-building nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E.

You can enjoy almonds as a snack or add them to your smoothies, salads, or trail mixes. Almond butter is another great choice for those who prefer a spreadable option.

8. Sesame Seeds and Tahini

Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of calcium, providing around 9% of the daily recommended intake per tablespoon. They are also loaded with other bone-friendly nutrients such as iron, fibre and zinc.

Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, can be used as a dip or added to dressings and sauces.

9. Broccoli

Apart from being rich in calcium, broccoli is packed with other nutrients like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fibre
  • Antioxidants

It can be steamed, roasted, or added to stir-fries.

10. Bok Choy

Bok Choy is a Chinese cabbage variety and is not only low in calories but also high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals. It can be stir-fried, sautéed, or added to soups.

Other Calcium Sources for Vegetarians and Vegans

For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, getting enough calcium can be a challenge since dairy products are off-limits. However, there are still plenty of options available to meet your calcium needs.

1. Tofu and Tempeh

Tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of calcium for vegetarians and vegans. Half a cup of tofu can provide around 250-300 mg of calcium. For a boost in calcium intake, include them in foods such as:

  • Stir-fries
  • Curries
  • Sandwiches

2. Legumes

Legumes like chickpeas and lentils are not only rich in protein but also pack a good amount of calcium. One cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 80 mg of calcium.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intake by Age Group

Recommended daily calcium intake varies by age group, with different requirements at different stages of life.

1. Infants, Children, and Teenagers

  • 0-6 months: 200 mg
  • 7-12 months: 260 mg
  • 1-3 years: 700 mg
  • 4-8 years: 1,000 mg
  • 9-18 years: 1,300 mg

2. Adults, including Pregnant and Lactating Women

  • 19-50 years: 1,000 mg
  • Pregnant and lactating women: 1,000-1,300 mg

3. Older Adults

  • 51 years and older: 1,200 mg

Common Myths About Calcium

When it comes to calcium, there are several myths that often lead to confusion. Let's debunk some of the most common ones:

Myth 1: Dairy Products are the Only Source of Calcium

Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not the only source of calcium. While they do contain high amounts of calcium, there are plenty of non-dairy options available. Some examples include leafy green vegetables and fortified plant-based milk.

Myth 2: Calcium Supplements are Always Necessary

While calcium supplements can be beneficial for those who struggle to meet their daily calcium requirements through diet alone, they are not always necessary. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation to determine if it's right for you.

Myth 3: Consuming More Calcium Prevents Osteoporosis

While calcium is essential for bone health, consuming excessive amounts will not necessarily prevent osteoporosis. Other factors such as vitamin D levels, physical activity, and overall diet also play a crucial role. It's important to maintain a well-balanced diet and engage in weight-bearing exercises to promote healthy bones.


In conclusion, calcium is an essential mineral for maintaining strong bones and teeth. While dairy products like milk and cheese are commonly known for their calcium content, several other sources of calcium can be included in your diet. Consuming adequate amounts of calcium is crucial for maintaining optimal bone and teeth health. Speak to a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised recommendations and to ensure you are meeting your specific dietary needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The recommended daily intake of calcium varies based on age and gender. Adults aged 19-50 need 1000 mg of calcium per day, while adults over 50 need 1200 mg.  

While calcium supplements can be helpful, it's always best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. Food sources provide other essential nutrients along with calcium.  

Yes, vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption.  

Yes, you can still meet your calcium needs without dairy. There are many non-dairy sources of calcium, such as leafy green vegetables, fortified foods, and calcium-fortified plant foods.  

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