Good Dietary Sources

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Although milk products are rich sources of bioavailable calcium, they also contain high amounts of protein, phosphorus, and sodium, which can increase calcium loss from the body. Although in many of the industrialized countries more than 80% of dietary calcium comes from dairy products, it is preferable to obtain dietary calcium from a variety of foods-seeds, legumes, grains, vegetables, and calcium-rich mineral water.

Certain dietary components may interfere with absorption and/or retention of calcium 1-3.

• Protein intake >20% of total calories

• Phosphorus (milk products, meat, processed foods, colas)

• Oxalates (in spinach, rhubarb)

• Phytic acid (in whole grains and legumes)

• Coffee and black tea

In general, the calcium bioavailabilty from milk products and most calcium supplements is approximately 25-35%. Calcium from plant sources tends to be less bioavailable because of the presence of fiber, phytic acid, and oxa-lates.


Serving size


Cheese (hard

100 g


cheeses, such as

cheddar or Emmen

taler, but not cot

tage cheese, which

has little calcium)

Sardines (with

100 g



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