Top 3 Calcium-Rich Foods Based on Nutrient Density for Natural Osteoporosis Treatment

Top 3 Calcium-Rich Foods Based on Nutrient Density for Natural Osteoporosis TreatmentNatural osteoporosis treatment involves much more than calcium, but this mineral is still extremely important and can’t be forgotten. But with so many people avoiding dairy because of its documented health challenges, finding non-dairy calcium rich foods alternatives can be difficult. Understanding which foods are calcium-rich based on nutrient density, though, can be extremely helpful and leads us to three top calcium rich foods.

What is nutrient density?

The most common way to evaluate foods is to look at the nutrient content per serving. One serving of milk (one cup) has about 300 milligrams of calcium, while one serving of cooked turnip greens (1/2 cup) has about 100 milligrams. So on a per serving basis, milk provides three times more calcium than turnip greens. 

But there is another useful way to rank foods which is becoming more and more popular: by their nutrient density. The nutrient density is the nutrient contribution per calorie rather than per serving. By ignoring typical serving sizes and looking instead at the caloric content of food, you better identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain. Rating foods by their nutrient density allows foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients, like calcium, to be highlighted. Dairy foods—which are often listed as excellent sources of calcium—turn out to be not as good as some other sources of calcium because of their lower nutrient density. This is important to understand for natural osteoporosis treatment.

Calcium in milk versus greens

To understand this better, let’s go back to our milk versus turnip greens example. Fat free milk has about 3.5 milligrams of calcium per calorie, while the turnip greens have about 6.8 milligrams calcium per calorie. Turnip greens therefore provide more calcium per calorie, have a greater nutrient density, and are more calcium-dense than milk. To get 300 mg of calcium, you could consume 1 cup fat-free milk or 1 and ½ cups cooked turned greens, but you would save calories if you chose the turnip greens over the milk (and you would be getting all the other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients present in the turnip greens).

So let’s take a look now at the top 3 foods for calcium in terms of nutrient density.

1.      Greens: Cooked Swiss chard, kale, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens are all extremely rich in calcium and low in calories, so they have very high nutrient densities when it comes to calcium. Incorporating more greens like these into your regular diet provides not only calcium for natural osteoporosis treatment, but high amounts of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients for cancer prevention, detoxification support, immune support, and more.

Food

Amount

Calories

Calcium
in milligrams

Calcium
density (mg per calorie)

Turnip Greens

1 cup cooked

29

197

6.8

Spinach

1 cup cooked

41

245

5.8

Collard Greens

1 cup cooked

49

266

5.4

Mustard Greens

1 cup cooked

21

104

5.0

Swiss Chard

1 cup cooked

35

102

2.9

Kale

1 cup cooked

36

94

2.6

 

2.      Tofu. While soy foods are certainly controversial and not for everyone, tofu is a great example of how a simple food like soybeans can be part of a way of eating that is natural, inexpensive, and nourishing. Made by curdling soymilk so that its proteins become coagulated and then pressed into a sliceable cake, tofu is a surprisingly versatile, calcium-rich, nutrient-dense food. Tofu is produced with far less processing than most low-fat soymilks and soy burgers, and is much closer to a “whole foods” category than soy protein isolates and concentrates. Besides calcium, tofu is an excellent source of protein, other minerals, and the amino acid tryptophan.

Food

Amount

Calories

Calcium
in milligrams

Calcium
density (mg per calorie)

Tofu

4 oz

86

397

4.6

 

3.      Herbs and spices: basil, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and dill. You may be surprised that these highly fragrant and flavorful herbs and spices are calcium-dense, but they are. Basil, thyme, and oregano are also excellent sources of vitamin K, another important nutrient for natural osteoporosis treatment, and iron, important for energy. Don’t forget about flavoring your food with these extra-rich calcium sources which each have healing properties extending far beyond their nutrient densities.

Food

Amount

Calories

Calcium
in milligrams

Calcium
density (mg per calorie)

Oregano

2 tsp

10

57

5.7

Basil

2 tsp

7

59

8.4

Thyme

2 tsp

8

53

6.6

Dill

2 tsp

13

66

5.1

Cinnamon

2 tsp

13

52

4

 

Aside from eating calcium-rich foods, adopting a lifestyle with healthy eating habits can help you prevent and even reverse low bone density. To learn more proper nutrition for healthy bones, read our articles, The Role of Vitamin K in Natural Osteoporosis Treatment, and The Top 10 Foods for Bone Health.


[1] The George Mateljan Foundation. The World’s Healthiest Food’s. www.whfoods.org.

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Comments
  • There will always be a big challenge in finding non-dairy calcium rich foods these days.

    Reply
  • QUESTION FROM OSTEOPOROSIS COMMUNITY

    Is calcium enough to take to help with osteoporosis or is there something else I can take to help?

    Reply
  • QUESTION FROM OSTEOPOROSIS COMMUNITY

    How important is it to drink lots of milk or mild products? I don’t have them in my diet because of digestion issues and wonder if that puts me at risk for bone health.

    Reply

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