Calcium-rich Fruits and Vegetables

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is an essential nutrient needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion and contraction, secretion of hormones and enzymes, and transmitting impulses throughout the nervous system.  It helps keep blood pressure normal and aids in blood clotting. Ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure while the remaining 1% is needed in the blood, muscle and intercellular fluids. The body losses calcium daily through sweat, urine and feces.

In recent studies, calcium has also shown to help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals, help prevent migraine headaches and reduce PMS symptoms during the second half of the menstrual cycle.

Diet is the best source of calcium with dairy products such as milk and cheese having the highest content. Unfortunately, some people can’t have dairy products due to lactose intolerance, the inability of the body to metabolize lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products because the required enzyme lactase is absent in the intestinal system or its availability is lowered. There are also people who don’t like to drink milk.

These are the highest natural sources of calcium among fruits and vegetables.
Based on 100 gram serving:

1. Roselle (215 mg)
The roselle is a species of hibiscus with bright red fruits. The fruits’ calyces are made into a homemade drink in different parts of the world.  They can also be prepared as jams and sweet pickles. Roselles are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins and packed with the highest calcium among fruits.

2. Rhubarb (86 mg)
Although botanically classified as a vegetable, the rhubarb is considered a fruit in the US since it is being used as a fruit. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of vitamin C, manganese and potassium.

3. Tamarinds (74 mg)
Tamarinds are 3-8 inch long, brown, irregularly curved fruits which contain 1-12 flat glossy brown seeds. Its sweet and sour fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp can be eaten raw, made into candies or added to soups.
Although high in sugar, tamarinds are rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, fiber and potassium. They are also very good sources of iron, phosphorus and vitamin B3.

4. Kumquats (62 mg)
Kumquats are tiny, round to ovoid fruits that are members of the citrus family. In addition to their calcium content, they are also excellent sources of vitamin C and very good sources of fiber.

5. Prickly pears (56 mg)
Prickly pears, also known as Indian figs are red fruits of a native cactus found in North America. The green fruit which changes to red when ripe tastes like a cross between a bubblegum and watermelon. The juice can be made into jam or candy and is used in cocktails and vinaigrettes salads. Prickly pears are good sources of calcium and rich in vitamin C, magnesium, fiber and potassium.

6. Mustard Spinach (210 mg)


Komatsuna, often called Japanese Mustard Spinach in the US is brimming with two potent antioxidants—vitamins A and C. It is high in fertility-promoting folate; the enzyme-activator manganese, and every 100 grams has 210 mg of calcium.

7. Green Soybeans (197 mg)
In addition to being an excellent source of protein, edamame, as the Japanese calls these baby soybeans also boasts of being rich in vitamin C, folate, and manganese. It can also supply the body with 20% of the DV of calcium and iron.

8. Turnip Greens (190 mg)
Turnip greens are the leaves of the root veggie turnip. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folate, and a good source of vitamin B6, manganese, calcium and copper, a mineral which helps the body absorb iron.

9. Garlic (181 mg)
Garlic is not just a seasoning and condiment but is also an ally for a healthy body as it adds vitamins C and B6, and the minerals selenium, copper and calcium in our diet.

10. Nopales (164 mg)
Nopales is the young pad of prickly pears. It’s a common part of Mexican dishes and both the fruit and pads can provide calcium. Who would have thought that cactus can be eaten and are even nutritious?

Nutrient data source: USDA

© K Kristie