Calcium Food Sources and Preparation

Although many foods contain some calcium, only a few are rich sources, and even fewer allow the calcium to be readily absorbed. The foods listed below are some of the best sources of easily absorbed calcium.

• Milk and milk products
• Orange juice fortified with calcium and Vitamin D
• Broccoli and cauliflower
• Soybeans and tofu
• Canned salmon and sardines with bones
• Nuts
• Sunflower and sesame seeds
• Molasses

The calcium content of various foods is not ordinarily affected by cooking and storage. However, one exception would be leafy green vegetables like spinach that are not only high in calcium but in oxalates that interfere with the absorption of calcium. When boiling the spinach or other greens, the oxalic acid is released into the boiling water, so by draining the vegetable well, much of the calcium can be preserved.

Another simple tip will help minimize the loss of calcium when cooking foods like salmon that are rich in both calcium and vitamin D. For maximum calcium absorption, use as little fat or oil as possible. This is because Vitamin D is both fat-soluble and one of the substances that greatly facilitates calcium absorption.