Calcium and Magnesium Rich Foods

The bioavailability of calcium and magnesium from foods varies from food source to food source. While foods such as grains and legumes are often touted as being high in minerals like calcium and magnesium, the minerals in these foods is tightly bound to compounds called phytates that actually inhibit absorption. Grains and legumes can be problematic for many additional reasons and many people will experience greater health benefits by avoiding them in general. Certain leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, contain oxalates that also bind minerals. To maximize absorption of calcium and magnesium from these foods, favor cooked leafy green vegetables and soak nuts and seeds for 8 hours with a little sea salt prior to eating (they can then be dried in a dehydrator or low oven if you wish). The best plan to maximize intake of calcium and magnesium from your diet is to consume a wide variety of foods daily.

Quality Food Sources of Calcium[1],[2],[3]

Food Calcium in milligrams Serving Size % of Daily Value
Almonds 75 1 oz (24 nuts) 8%
Cabbage, Chinese (cooked) 158 1 cup 16%
Cheese (firm, such as cheddar, mozzarella, provolone or swiss) ~200 1 ounce 20%
Cheese (hard such as parmesan or pecorino) ~331 1 ounce 33%
Collard Greens (cooked) 268 1 cup 27%
Cottage Cheese (2% milkfat) 206 1 cup 21%
Figs, dried 124 4 figs 12%
Kale (cooked) 179 1 cup 10%
Milk (whole) 276 1 cup 28%
Mustard Greens (cooked) 165 1 cup 17%
Salmon (canned) 181 3 ounces 18%
Salmon (canned with bones) 212 3 ounces 21%
Sardines (with bones) 325 3 ounces 33%
Sesame Seeds 351 ¼ cup 35%
Sesame Seed Butter (tahini) 128 2 tbsp 13%
Spinach (cooked) 245 1 cup 24%
Spices (cinnamon, cumin, basil, oregano, parsley, black pepper) 26-52 2 tsp 2.5% – 5%
Swiss Chard (cooked) 101 1 cup 10%
Yogurt (plain, full-fat) 296 1 cup 30%

Quality Food Sources of Magnesium[4],[5]

Food Magnesium in milligrams Serving Size % of Daily Value
Almonds 100 ¼ cup 25%
Artichoke 77 medium artichoke 19%
Avocado 58 one fruit 15%
Brazil Nuts 125 ¼ cup 31%
Cashews 117 ¼ cup 29%
Dark Chocolate 95 1 ounce 24%
Fish (mackerel, halibut, cod) 100 4 ounces 25%
Flax Seeds 55 2 tbsp 14%
Molasses 48 1 tbsp 12%
Papaya 58 medium papaya 15%
Potato (with skin) 52 medium potato 13%
Pumpkin Seeds 191 ¼ cup 48%
Sesame Seeds 126 ¼ cup 32%
Spinach (cooked) 157 1 cup 39%
Sunflower Seeds 157 ¼ cup 39%
Swiss Chard 151 1 cup 38%
Tuna 48 4 ounces 12%
 

HERBS: Many herbs are excellent sources of calcium/magnesium: nettle, watercress, parsley, oatstraw, horsetail, seaweed, and yellow dock

Bone Building Tea Recipe

The herbalist Susan Weed in her book New Menopausal Ways, The Wise Woman Way recommends one ounce nettles, one tablespoon horsetail (shave grass), and one tablespoon sage. To make this nourishing herbal infusion, crush the sage between palms and drop into a quart container with the other two herbs. Pour one quart boiling water over the herbs, covering it tightly, and letting it brew for four hours or more (overnight will work).[6],[7] In the morning, strain out the mineral-rich liquid and drink it over ice or heated, or any other way you enjoy it. Each cup of this infusion not only contains approximately as much calcium as a cup of milk, but also many of the other partners to this important bone mineral.


References

[1] http://nutritiondata.self.com/

[2] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=45

[3] https://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR25/nutrlist/sr25w301.pdf

[4] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75

[5] http://nutritiondata.self.com/

[6] Weed, Susan. New Menopausal Ways, The Wise Woman Way. Aus Tree Publishing. 2001

[7] Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside, New York. 1993.