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All About Calcium (Page 2)

Sources Of Calcium

Dairy products contribute about 75 per cent of the calcium in most Western diets. In some Asian countries, calcium comes from small dried or fermented fish and from prawn shells, which are eaten with the prawns or dried and powdered and used to give flavour to many other foods. Vegetables, soybeans, nuts, green vegetables and oranges also con­tribute some calcium.

Certain people do not digest dairy products well and for them they are unsuitable foods. But for most people of Anglo-Saxon background, dairy products are well-tolerated and represent the easiest way to get calcium.

Sesame seeds have been recommended as preferable to dairy products. However, they do not contain much calcium (see table) and it would be difficult to chew your way through the quantities needed to provide significant amounts of it. Some calcium values quoted for sesame seeds in­clude the calcium present in the husks. Even if you could munch thoroughly enough for this calcium to be made available, the husks contain oxalic acid which forms a chemical complex with the calcium, tying it up so we can­not use it. Spinach also contains oxalic acid, so it’s calcium, too, is unavailable to the body. Making tahina is one way to grind enough sesame seeds to provide a richer source of calcium but as this paste is 50 per cent fat, it is not ad­visable to eat very much of it.

Food Calcium Content



(a)  Regular or skim, 250 ml 290
(b)  Low-fat (1 per cent fat),  250ml 355
(c)  Low-fat fortified, 250 ml 400
(d)  Buttermilk, 250 ml 300
Cheese, 30 g slice 230
Cottage cheese, 75 g 70
Ricotta cheese, 75 g 215
Yogurt, low-fat, 200 g carton 390
Yogurt, flavored, 200 g carton 310
Salmon, canned, 100 g 310
Sardines, canned, 100 g 380
Crab, canned, drained, 100 g 155
Fresh fish, 200 g serve 75
Prawns, 6 medium 120
Oysters, 6 70
Almonds, 30 g 75
Baked beans, 140 g 65
Egg, 1 30
Sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon 5
Tahina, 1 tablespoon 35
Soy milk,
(a)   Regular, 250 ml 35
(b)   Fortified, 250 ml 290
Broccoli, 100 g 30
Cabbage, 80 g 45
Orange, 1 medium 30


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