We have been taught right from the get-go that calcium is crucial for teeth and bone development. However, when the topic best source of calcium comes up, we automatically assume milk, cheese, and other dairy products.
While there’s a lot of truth to that, given that dairy products provide about 20 to 30% of our daily calcium needs, we would like to introduce other food that keeps our mouth healthy. Plus, they’re highly satisfying to the palate too.
Foods High in Calcium
Dry roasted almonds
Everybody loves almonds unless, of course, you’re allergic to it. The edible seed of the almond tree is neutral tasting yet not insipid. It’s just neither salty, sweet, sour, nor bitter. Hence, it fits everyone’s taste preference.
The good news is, ¼ cup of dry roasted almonds provides almost 10% of your daily calcium needs, says Harvard School of Public Health. Thus, if you’re a big almond eater, you can get at least half of the needed calcium from a cup of almonds alone.
Fortified orange juice
The most preferred juice flavor (says a survey) is, luckily, also one of the best sources of calcium. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 8 oz. of fortified orange juice (i.e. with added calcium and Vitamin D), contains about 300 mg of calcium. That’s 30% of what we need every day.
What’s more, orange juice is not the only drink high in calcium. NOF says other fruit juices, as long as they’re added with calcium and Vitamin D can provide 30% of your daily calcium needs.
Mac & Cheese
You read that right. Our go-to comfort food is also the best source of calcium, says NOF. 1 frozen package of mac and cheese contains about 325 mg of calcium, which translates to more than 30% of the recommended daily calcium intake.
If the calcium is from the cheese alone and nothing from mac, it is not clear as of this writing. But we are sure that NOF listed mac and cheese as one of the sources of calcium, and we can’t be any happier.
However, please note that the Foundation highly recommends checking the food label to determine how much of this mineral is in it. It can be more or less than the estimated amount mentioned in this section.
Fortified frozen waffle
One of the foods to strengthen teeth is our breakfast favorite–waffles. According, again, to the NOF, two pieces of fortified waffle is enough to give you about 200 mg of calcium. While the Foundation does not mention how waffles ended up on their list, we are assuming the combination of milk, eggs, flour, and other ingredients made it one of the calcium rich foods.
Another surprising entry on our list of best source of calcium in food (that are also yummy, by the way) is none other than the crowd favorite chocolate pudding. That is, of course, if it’s prepared with 2% milk, says NOF. Chocolate pudding with 2% milk has an estimated 160 mg of calcium.
Besides milk, chocolate pudding contains ingredients that are also calcium-rich foods such as cocoa, flour, and butter.
However, bear in mind that pudding also contains sugar and other ingredients that, if taken too much, can do more harm than good to your body. Too much sugar is bad for your dental health. Do NOT make chocolate pudding your daily source of calcium.
Roasted sesame seeds
Whether they’re on a burger bun or added to your favorite salad, roasted sesame seeds are the best source of calcium. Harvard School of Public Health notes that ¼ cup of these seeds has 280 grams of calcium.
Consuming ¼ cup of sesame seeds a day seems to be too much, so we suggest preparing recipes that have these as one of the ingredients. This way, you won’t notice that you are already devouring that much of these seeds. At the same time, you’re meeting your daily calcium needs.
Here’s another reason you have to befriend that pizza delivery guy: the box he’s carrying contains foods to strengthen teeth. That is, if, the pizza you ordered has plenty of cheese and other calcium rich foods.
One serving of a 14-inch pizza has enough calcium to meet 18% of your daily values, says USDA. Hence, it is probably safe to assume that eating five to six servings a day will give you 100% of the calcium you need for the day.
A note of caution, however, is that pizza is also high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Hence, you cannot use it as a substitute to natural foods high in calcium.
Sardines with bone
If you love sardine pasta, you’ll be delighted to find out that this seafood is not just pasta-perfect but also one of the foods to strengthen teeth.
According to Harvard School of Public Health, ½ cup of sardines is enough to give you almost 30% of your calcium needs. If you consume 3 oz of it, NOF says, you can get 325 mg of calcium.
If you’re not a fan of sardines, you may look for any seafood which bones you can eat such as salmon. This type of fish is also the best source of calcium.
Vanilla ice cream
Again, you read that right. NOF has once again given us a treat by including one of the most loved flavors on its best source of calcium list. We’re assuming this is mostly because of the milk it contains.
An 8 oz. vanilla ice cream has enough calcium to meet almost 10% of what you need for the day. But then again, be cautioned that ice cream is saturated fat. Too much of this can also do more harm than good just like chocolate pudding and pizza.
This may not be everyone’s favorite, but we can all agree that given the right recipe, tofu can easily replace meat. What’s more, firm tofu is not only delicious, it’s among the foods to strengthen teeth as well.
Its calcium content is even higher if it’s prepared with calcium or calcium sulfate (205 mg and 861 mg of estimated calcium, respectively).
What’s more, 100 grams of firm tofu has only 88 calories, according to USDA, less than 10% fat, and 1% sodium. It also has 3% dietary fiber and 9% iron.
Given all these nutrition facts, it can be safe to conclude that tofu, aside from dairy products, is the best source of calcium.
We have already mentioned these earlier, but we will mention it again here. Some of the foods listed above should be taken in moderation because of the other ingredients they’re made of. While they are delicious and contain a high amount of calcium, they also contain a high amount of fat, sodium, and sugar. All of which can lead to health risks if taken abundantly.
Nonetheless, it’s good to have options of calcium sources should you feel tired of taking the same wellspring of calcium on the daily. Also, the list above includes calcium rich foods that are suitable even for the lactose intolerant, the vegetarian, and the seafood lover. This list is also appropriate for people of all ages.