First, let's discuss how much calcium you actually need. The USDA recommends 1000mg. But, this is a bit high according
to other sources. The WHO (world health organization) recommends we get 500mg and the UK sets the goal at 700mg.
"Based on those studies, in 1997 an Institute of Medicine panel raised the recommendation for calcium intake from 800 mg to 1,200 mg a day for women over 50. That wasn't a sound decision, Dr. Willett says: "The recommendation was based on calcium balance studies that lasted just a few weeks. In fact, calcium balance is determined over the course of years." Moreover, there wasn't any evidence that consuming that much calcium actually prevented fractures. "
High calcium intake does not reduce hip fractures
based on a conclusion of a 2007 report by American and Swiss scientists who analyzed more than a dozen studies on calcium.
In the women's health initiative they found that calcium supplements can lead to the formation of Kidney stones.
It can lead to an increased risk of heart disease
"In a randomized study of 1,471 postmenopausal women conducted in New Zealand, 21 of 732 women who took 1,000 mg of calcium a day had heart attacks, compared with 10 of 736 who received a placebo. A 2010 analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials also linked calcium supplementation with an increased risk of heart attack."
- according to harvard health
500 mg is all you need according to the WHO, as well Harvard's Dr. Willett. Preferrably, you'd want to get it from plant based sources.
Dairy is very high in calcium but much of it goes through your body and gets urinated out.
Let's take a look at some of the highest concentrations of calcium in each food group: Fruits, Vegetables, Beans, Grains and Nuts.
As usual, all figures shown are normalized to 200 calories to make for an even comparison.
As you can see there's high calcium foods in every food category! Grains aren't very high in calcium so they didn't get a table.
But, as you can see, most fruits and veggies are very high in calcium. Beans and sees are also very high in calcium with Chia seeds coming out on top for the seed category.
Keep in mind, non-dairy items in the dairy section (such as almond milk, soymilk, etc) are also very high in calcium but that is due to the calcium that the manufacturer added (usually calcium sulfate).
Now, you can easily get enough calcium from any food category. And, if you want to see how we got these lists, feel free to try out our
Nutrient based Food/Recipe Finder.