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Food Sources of Calcium

Dairy is not the best source of calcium
It is a widespread nutritional myth that dairy produce is a good source of calcium. Milk products do contain a fair amount of calcium, particularly hard cheese but, because of the calcium to magnesium ratio in these products, the calcium is not well absorbed. As well as inhibiting the body's ability to absorb magnesium, eating dairy foods in excess can cause the body to produce too much mucous. As you can see in the table of calcium rich foods below, seaweeds and other land plants offer the best sources of bioavailable calcium.

Calcium inhibitors
Generally it is not that a person is not eating enough calcium - it is one of the most widely occurring nutrients in our diet. It is more the case that lifestyle choices and dietary habits might interfering with the body's ability to absorb calcium. Things that inhibit the absorption of calcium are

  • Coffee, soft drinks and diuretics
  • Excesses of protein, especially meat
  • Refined sugar or too much of any concentrated sweetener or sweet flavoured food
  • Alcohol, cannabis, cigarettes and other intoxicants
  • Too little or too much exercise
  • Excess salt
  • The Solanum (deadly nightshade) genus of vegetables - tomatoes in particular, but also potatoes, aubergines, peppers, courgettes - they all contain the calcium inhibitor solanine.

Table of food calcium sources

Food Source (100mg portions) Calcium in Milligrams
Hijiki 1,400
Wakame 1,300
Kelp 1,099
Kombu 800
Hard cheese 682
Dried Wheatgrass or Barleygrass 514
Sardines 443
Agar-Agar 400
Nori 260
Almonds 233
Amaranth grain 222
Hazelnuts 209
Parsley 203
Turnip greens 191
Brazil nuts 186
Sunflower seeds 174
Watercress 151
Chick peas 150
Quinoa 141
Pistachio nuts 135
Pinto beans 135
Kale 134
Spirulina 131
Yoghurt 121
Milk 119
Sesame seeds 110
Chinese cabbage 106
Tofu 100
Walnuts 99
Okra 82
Salmon 79
Cottage cheese 60
Eggs 56
Brown rice 33
Chicken 11
Mackerel 5

Source: Paul Pitchford, Healing with Wholefood

How to use Hijiki
Hijiki is the richest food source of calcium. It is virtually tasteless, yet has a slight seaweed smell. It comes in an easy to use dried form. Hijiki can be added straight from the packet into soups and stews or cooked along with brown rice. Simmer hijiki along with chosen food for at least 15 minutes.

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