Traditionally, we relate drinking milk with an intake of calcium. Milk and dairy products are whole foods and very nutritious, essential for growth. They belong to one of the major food groups essential to our diets. However milk is not the only foodstuff that contains calcium, and cow’s milk is not the only drink that provides us with this mineral, which is very important for our bones. Here are 5 foods that contain more calcium than milk, and a description of their properties. Pay attention!

 

Plant milks and drinks with calcium

Cow’s milk contains 120mg of calcium per 100ml. In other words, if you drink a large glass of milk for breakfast, you can consume over 250mg of calcium. With the recommended daily calcium intake for adults being 1000mg per day, this breakfast will only provide you 25% of your daily calcium requirements.

So what about other plan milks? How much calcium do they contain?

  • Soya milk: 160mg per 100ml
  • Almond milk: 120mg per 100ml
  • Oat milk/ drink: 120mg per 100ml
  • Rice milk/ drink: 118mg per 100ml

So, it’s obvious that we need some other way of getting sufficient calcium into our diets.

Foods with more calcium than milk.

  • Nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts. These contain some 220mg per 100g. Nuts are also rich in omega-3 fats, which protect your heart and arteries, as well as high-quality plant proteins, which serve a structural function. That’s why they’re recommended after exercise. They are, however, calorific – making it advisable to consume them in moderation and ideally raw or roasted without salt. However they’re also quite filling and contains fibre, which means they can help us to control hunger pangs between meals and improve intestinal transit.
  • Cabbage. People tend to go for this vegetable thanks to its characteristic smell when cooking, but it provides 215 mg of calcium for every 100 grams. When combined with beans and pulses, its nutritional value increases and it produces proteins of high biological value. It is rich in water and fibre and has very few calories. It prevents fluid retention and helps to control weight. What’s more, it is rich in vitamin C and folic acid.
  • Dried fig. This is a sweet dried fruit, fairly high in calories even in small amounts. It has a surprising level of calcium, 20mg for 100g of figs. It’s also rich in magnesium, essential for the nervous system, and contains B vitamins, which plays an important role in energy metabolism.
  • More specifically tahini, or sesame paste. This contains 430mg per 100g. Commonly used in sweet pastries and a great option for vegans. Sesame contains vitamins A and E, which are major antioxidants that look after our hair, mucous membranes and eyes; B vitamins; and minerals such as iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and copper.
  • Pulses. In particular, green beans, fava beans and of course, soya beans. These contain between 100 – 200mg per 100 grams. Pulses are an excellent source of plant protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre, which control appetite and prevent constipation, as well as containing essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and phosphorous.

It is important to note that absorption rates of the calcium present in certain vegetables is around 5%, while in milk and dairy produce, the presence of lactose, vitamin D and certain amino-acids aids absorption, increasing this figure to 30%. That’s why there are plenty of products enriched with calcium and vitamin D such as cereal, dairy products, plant milks or oils recommended for certain special diets (intolerances, allergies, restrictive diets, etc).

 

If you follow a balanced and varied diet there’s nothing to worry about, because your calcium intake will be sufficient.

References:

  • Spanish Heart Foundation. Calcium: Nutrients and Sources of Calcium.
  • Dietitians. Foods rich in calcium.