Despite being the world’s leading producer of milk, India’s population suffers from a serious lack of calcium in their diet, which has serious consequences for bone health.
According to studies, the dietary calcium intake of people living in rural, tribal, and urban India has decreased over the last 50 years. In an Indian survey done between 1963 to 2005, it was found that 52% of the population had the nutritional bone disease.
As we age, the need for calcium increases to maintain strong and healthy bones. A calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and other health problems.
The major source of calcium for people in India is through non-dairy products such as milk, curd and cheese. However, not all people are comfortable with dairy products(especially people with lactose intolerance).
Fortunately, there are many other foods available in India that are high in calcium and can be easily incorporated into any person’s diet.
So, to increase your daily calcium intake, I have compiled a list of the best calcium rich foods available in India. This list includes both dairy and non-dairy foods.
But before getting to the list, it’s important to know why calcium is important.
Why is calcium important for your health?
Every health professional will agree that dietary calcium is an important part of any diet. This is because, in addition to aiding your bones, calcium plays a key part in a variety of other functions.
Here are some reasons why calcium is important for your health:
- It helps in the normal contraction of muscles.
- High consumption of calcium is associated with lower blood pressure.
- It plays a key role in blood clotting.
- An adequate amount of calcium may help in reducing cholesterol levels.
- It is important for hormone production.
Your bones and teeth contain nearly 99% of the calcium in your body. The remaining calcium is obtained through diet.
But, if you stop getting calcium in your diet, your body will begin to absorb calcium from your bones to meet calcium requirements in other parts of your body. As a result, your bones will become brittle and weak.
How much calcium do you need per day?
It’s no secret that calcium is important for the health, but how much do you need each day?
You may need anywhere from 1000 to 1300 mg per day, depending on your age and gender. However, on average, you should aim for at least 1000 mg of calcium per day from your diet.
20 Best Calcium rich foods in India
Milk is one of the most common sources of calcium in India. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.
There are many types of milk available in India from different animals, each with a different calcium amount.
Here is the calcium content of milk from various animals:
Cow milk: A 100ml of cow milk contains 129mg of calcium, or almost 13% of the daily value.
Goat milk: A 100ml of goat milk contains 138mg of calcium, or almost 14% of the daily value.
Buffalo milk: A 100ml of buffalo milk contains 178mg of calcium, or almost 18% of the daily value.
Sheep milk: A 100ml of sheep milk contains 200mg of calcium, or about 20% of the daily value.
Curd or dahi is another popular dairy product in India that is high in calcium. A 100 grams serving of curd contains 83 mg of calcium, or about 8% of the daily value.
It also contains other nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12 that are good for your overall health.
Furthermore, It has the advantage of being consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.
Ice cream may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of calcium-rich foods in India. However, it is indeed a good source of calcium.
In fact, a one-cup serving of ice cream (vanilla) can provide you with about 169 mg of calcium or about 17% of the daily need.
This is great news for people who love to indulge in this sweet treat, as it can be a great way for people to get their daily dose of calcium.
However, different flavours of ice cream can vary in their calcium content.
Paneer is another high calcium food made from milk. It has a high level of fat and protein and a low level of lactose.
A 100 grams serving of paneer contains somewhere between 300-400mg of calcium, depending on the type of milk used.
It is an important part of the gym’s nutrition in India.
Buttermilk or chaas is a popular Indian drink that is a rich source of calcium. It is made from the liquid leftover of the whole milk churned into butter.
A 100ml of buttermilk contains 116mg of calcium, or almost 12% of the daily calcium need.
Furthermore, buttermilk is considered safe for people with lactose intolerance.
Calcium content: 975mg in 100 grams
Sesame seeds come from the sesame plant. They are small, flat, and have a nutty taste. These seeds are popularly known as “til ke beej” in India.
These seeds have the highest calcium content of any food. They contain 975mg of calcium per 100 grams, nearly 100% of the daily need.
You can eat these seeds raw or can also be used as toppings on bagels, salads and breadsticks.
However, the best way to eat these seeds is by soaking one tablespoon of seeds overnight and eating them the next morning.
Calcium content: 631mg in 100 grams
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that come from the chia plant. These seeds have a mild flavour and are considered a superfood due to their various health benefits.
Apart from being a rich source of calcium, these seeds also contain a good amount of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
You can eat them raw or ground them into a powder and use them as an ingredient in smoothies, yoghurt, cereal, or baking recipes.
Calcium content: 344mg in 100 grams
Finger millet, also known as ragi, is a cereal grain primarily grown in southern India. It is a small, reddish grain high in protein, calcium, and iron.
A 100 grams serving of finger millet provides you with more than 30% of the daily calcium need. It has the highest calcium content of any other millet variety.
It can be ground into flour that can be used to make pancakes, roti, or porridge.
Furthermore, it’s a gluten-free grain and is good for people with high cholesterol and diabetes.
Calcium content: 330mg in 100 grams
Amaranth is a pseudo-cereal grain that has been around for over 8,000 years. It is high in protein, fiber, and lysine (an essential amino acid), making it a nutritious alternative to wheat flour.
It is also an excellent source of calcium, providing about 33% of the daily need.
Furthermore, It is gluten-free, making it a good choice for people with gluten sensitivities.
Calcium content: 260mg in 100 grams
Whether it’s about protein, fiber, calcium or any other major nutrient, dry fruits are a must to include in your diet.
Almonds are a great source of calcium. A 100 grams serving of almonds contains 260mg of calcium, about 26% of the Daily Value.
Additionally, almonds are a good source of protein, potassium and magnesium, which also plays an important role in strengthening your bones.
You can eat a handful of almonds daily or can include them in sweet dishes.
Calcium content: 255mg in 100 grams
Flaxseeds, often known as “alsi,” is considered a superfood. These are small, golden-brown seeds often used as an ingredient in various recipes.
These seeds are loaded with nutrients such as protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Furthermore, they are great for your bone health due to their high calcium content. You can include flaxseeds in your breakfast cereal or can also bake them in cookies or bread.
Calcium content: 250mg in 100 grams
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is considered a superfood because of its high nutrient content. It is a good source of calcium, with about 250 mg per cup.
It also contains other essential nutrients for bone health, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.
You can eat kale raw, add it to salads, or use it in various recipes.
Calcium content: 162mg in 100 grams
Dried figs are popular dried fruit that people often enjoy as a snack. These are not only delicious but are also high in fiber and help people regulate their digestion health.
Apart from that, these are great for your bone and teeth health as they provide 16% of the daily calcium requirement.
Additionally, dried figs are a good source of potassium which help to counteract the urinary excretion of calcium, leading to better bone health.
Calcium content: 160mg in 100 grams
Brazil nuts are the seeds of a large tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest.
These nuts are not commonly found in stores, which is why these nuts are not as popular as other nuts. However, these nuts are a great source of essential nutrients for your body. These are energy-dense and highly concentrated sources of selenium.
Furthermore, brazil nuts are a good source of calcium, providing about 16% of the daily requirement.
Calcium content: 143mg in 100 grams
Kidney beans or rajma is a popular Indian dal that is a great source of calcium.
A one-cup serving of uncooked rajma contains about 14% of the recommended daily calcium intake.
Including rajma in your diet can help you reach your daily calcium requirement.
Calcium content: 136mg in 100 grams
In India, you can’t keep veggies off the table when it comes to nutrition. They play a crucial role in Indian cuisine.
Spinach, popularly known as “palak, ” is a great food to cover your daily nutrition needs. A 100m grams serving of raw spinach contains 136mg of calcium or 13 to 14% of your daily needs.
It’s also a great source of vitamin K, which according to studies, can increase bone mineral density in osteoporotic people and reduce fracture rates.
Furthermore, spinach is rich in many other essential nutrients, including vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, folate and potassium.
Calcium content: 132mg in 100 grams
Mung beans, also known as green gram or hara chana, are a legume that has been consumed in Asia for ages for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. These beans are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
It is also a good choice for people looking for a plant-based source of calcium. A 100 grams serving of uncooked mung beans provides 132mg of calcium.
Furthermore, It is a rich source of antioxidants, folate, and protein, making it an excellent addition to any diet.
Calcium content: 114mg in 100 grams
Hazelnuts are a type of nut that grows on hazelnut trees. These have smooth, brown skin and are oval in shape.
A 100-grams serving of hazelnuts provides 11% of your daily calcium requirement. They’re delicious roasted and salted, but you can also eat them raw or use them in baking.
Furthermore, hazelnuts are a good source of other nutrients such as fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium.
So overall, it’s an excellent calcium-rich food to incorporate into your diet.
Calcium content: 105mg in 100 grams
Chickpea or Kabuli chana is another famous Indian dal that you can consume daily to increase your calcium intake. A 100 grams of raw chickpea provide 10% of the daily calcium need.
It also has other essential nutrients such as manganese, copper, Iron, Zinc and magnesium.
Furthermore, it’s high in protein and fiber, which may help you control your appetite.
Calcium content: 105mg in 100 grams
The last calcium-rich food on this list is pistachios.
These nuts have a higher calcium content than many other nuts. Pistachios contain around 10% of the daily recommended consumption in a 100 grams serving.
They’re also high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats, making them a must-have in your diet.
The right way to eat calcium rich foods
Consuming calcium-rich foods alone may not be the greatest way to strengthen your bones or avoid bone disease. There are a few important factors to keep in mind.
- Besides calcium, include vitamin D rich foods in your diet or get it from the sun. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium effectively.
- Some of the foods mentioned above, such as finger millet, spinach, and almonds, are high in oxalate, which can reduce calcium absorption in the body. So, in that case, you need to eat vitamin C rich foods with these foods or eat less of these foods and instead opt for the other calcium-rich foods listed above.
- Try mixing several foods instead of eating only one to enhance your calcium intake. This way, you can ensure that you are getting all of the necessary nutrients your body requires and calcium.
- Other vital minerals to seek to promote your bone health include vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and phosphorus.
For anyone looking to improve their bone health, consuming the above foods is a great place to start.
While some of these may not be new to you, I hope you have found some new sources of calcium from this list.
Make sure you add these foods to your daily diet and enjoy stronger bones and better health!
Lastly, if you found this information useful, please share it or leave a comment below.
I would love to hear what else you are doing to strengthen your bones.
Here are a few other articles that you might found useful:
- 10 Best Probiotic-Rich Foods That You Can Find In India
- List Of Top 25 Indian Foods To Reduce Triglycerides Naturally
- 16 Delightful Types of Rice in India You’ll Love To Eat