- Brian Bender, PhD
50 Calcium Rich Foods (Ranked)
After crunching the numbers on thousands of foods in the USDA Food Database, we’ve ranked the top 50 calcium rich foods from highest to lowest.
Calcium is an essential micronutrient. It’s essential because it’s necessary for life, and the only way to get it is through your diet.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are eating enough to ensure optimal health over the long-term.
How we measured foods rich in calcium
First, we collected detailed nutrient information from the USDA Food Database. This included both the amount of calories in 100 grams of each food (kcal) and the amount of calcium in 100 grams of each food (mg).
Foods come in different sizes. So we can’t compare foods alone. What if you had one giant orange and one small spinach leaf?
And everyone eats different amounts of each food. People require different amounts of calories every day, based on gender, age, body weight, basal metabolism, and level of activity.
So we can’t measure based off of servings.
We want a true, “apples-to-apples” comparison of each food item.
Therefore, we measured which foods had the highest density of calcium on a calorie-per-calorie basis.
That means, we divided the amount of calcium by the number of calories in 100 grams of each food.
That way, the numbers can be compared, side-by-side, to reveal what are the most calcium rich foods.
Top 50 Most Calcium Rich Foods – Ranked
50. Tofu with Nagari (3.40 mg/kcal)
49. Chrysanthemum Garland (3.45 mg/kcal)
48. Plain Yoghurt (3.55 mg/kcal)
47. Taro Leaves (3.58 mg/kcal)
46. Nonfat Milk (3.59 mg/kcal)
45. Ginger Root (3.70 mg/kcal)
44. Soymilk (3.73 mg/kcal)
43. Parsley (3.82 mg/kcal)
42. Grape Leaves (3.90 mg/kcal)
41. Kelp Seaweed (3.91 mg/kcal)
40. Water Convolvulus (4.05 mg/kcal)
39. Rhubarb (4.10 mg/kcal)
38. Cardoon (4.12 mg/kcal)
37. New Zealand Spinach (4.14 mg/kcal)
36. Dandelion Greens (4.16 mg/kcal)
35. Fireweed Leaves (4.17 mg/kcal)
34. Parmesan Cheese (4.18 mg/kcal)
33. Mustard Greens (4.26 mg/kcal)
32. Spinach (4.30 mg/kcal)
31. Purslane (4.33 mg/kcal)
30. Chicory Greens (4.35 mg/kcal)
29. Roselle (4.39 mg/kcal)
28. Borage (4.43 mg/kcal)
27. Chinese Broccoli (4.55 mg/kcal)
26. Pickle (4.75 mg/kcal)
25. Chinese Cabbage (Pe-Tsai) (4.82 mg/kcal)
24. Chrysanthemum Leaves (4.88 mg/kcal)
23. Broccoli Raab (4.91 mg/kcal)
22. Sisymbrium Seeds (5.14 mg/kcal)
21. Beet Greens (5.32 g/kcal)
20. Malabar Spinach (5.39 mg/kcal)
19. Cheddar Cheese (5.69 mg/kcal)
18. Turnip Greens (5.94 mg/kcal)
17. Dried Whey Acid (6.06 mg/kcal)
16. Jute (6.12 mg/kcal)
15. American Cheese (6.26 mg/kcal)
14. Arugula (6.40 mg/kcal)
13. Mollusks (6.50 mg/kcal)
12. Mozzarella Cheese (6.82 mg/kcal)
11. Collards (7.25 mg/kcal)
10. Kale (7.26 mg/kcal)
9. Butterbur (Fuki) (7.36 mg/kcal)
8. Swiss Cheese (7.57 mg/kcal)
7. Lambsquarters (8.06 mg/kcal)
6. Chinese Cabbage (Pak-Choi) (8.08 mg/kcal)
5. Epazote (8.59 mg/kcal)
4. Amaranth Leaves (9.35 mg/kcal)
3. Mustard Spinach (Tendergreen) (9.55 mg/kcal)
2. Nopales (10.25 mg/kcal)
1. Watercress (10.91 mg/kcal)
Foods Rich in Calcium
Although dairy foods often come to mind when thinking of calcium, only 9 of the top 50 (18%) calcium rich foods are dairy products. And only 1 (Swiss cheese) cracks the top 10.
Among the dairy foods high in calcium, however, are by and large cheeses, with Swiss cheese at #8, mozzarella cheese at #12, American cheese at #15, cheddar cheese at #19, and parmesan cheese at #34.
(See our analysis of which cheeses are the healthiest overall.)
Interestingly, there is one seafood on the list. Mollusks come in at #13. Also, one seed makes the ranking at #22 (Sisymbrium seeds).
But for the most part, vegetables dominate the ranking of the most calcium rich foods. Vegetables inherently tend to be low-calorie foods, which in turn tends to make them nutrient dense.
Watercress, at #1, is a great example. A 100-gram serving of watercress is only 11 calories. But those 11 calories carry 120 mg of calcium, making it the most calcium rich food you can eat!
Do any of your favorites make the list of the top 50 most calcium rich foods?