Calcium is an essential mineral that is needed as a building block for bones and teeth. It plays a crucial role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, nerve signal transmission, maintaining electrolyte balance, and hormone regulation. A calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, cramps, tooth decay, as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
To meet your daily calcium requirement, it is recommended to include calcium-rich foods such as green vegetables, nuts, and certain fruits in your diet. Use our calcium fruit table for this purpose. Below, we will delve a bit deeper into some of the fruits mentioned above.
Who has a higher calcium requirement?
Athletes have a higher requirement for calcium due to their intense physical activity, as their bones and muscles are subjected to greater stress. During training, bones and muscles are more heavily taxed. Additionally, the body also loses calcium through sweating, especially during strenuous physical activities. Therefore, athletes have a higher need for calcium to compensate for the loss through sweat. If an athlete does not consume enough calcium to meet the increased requirement, it can have long-term effects on bone health. When the body lacks calcium to fulfill its own functions, it can extract the mineral from the bones, leading to a calcium deficiency in the bones.
Other groups of people who have an increased calcium requirement include:
- During growth, children and adolescents need sufficient calcium to form strong bones and teeth.
- Women need additional calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support fetal growth and milk production.
- As people age, they often lose bone density and therefore have a higher need for calcium.
- Women entering menopause are at higher risk of osteoporosis and therefore need additional calcium to maintain their bone health.
To prevent a deficiency, enough calcium-rich foods should be consumed. Some fruits with high calcium content can contribute to meeting the daily requirement.
Which fruits are high in calcium?
Fruits are known for their rich vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While fruits may not be the first choice when it comes to meeting calcium needs, there are still some fruits that contain comparatively high amounts of calcium:
- Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C along with calcium. A medium-sized orange contains about 65 mg of calcium, which is approximately 7% of an adult's daily requirement.
- Kiwis are known for their tart, refreshing taste and their high vitamin C content. A medium-sized kiwi contains about 60 mg of calcium.
- Blackberries are a wonderful summer fruit that is great for smoothies, juices, desserts, or simply snacking. With their high calcium content, they contribute to strong bones and teeth. One cup of blackberries contains about 40 mg of calcium, which is approximately 4% of the daily requirement.
- Raspberries are a delicious and nutritious berry that is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and K. One cup of raspberries also contains about 40 mg of calcium.
- Fresh figs are an excellent choice for a calcium-rich diet. According to the table, they not only contain a significant amount of calcium but are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One large fresh fig contains about 20 to 30 mg of calcium.
- Papayas are a tropical fruit known for their buttery texture and sweet flavor. They are also high in vitamin C and relatively rich in calcium, making them a valuable addition to your diet.
- Pomegranates are a true superfood. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients like calcium, you can use the small, crunchy seeds as a topping for salads, smoothie bowls, or desserts.
- Dried apricots are not only a snack but also an excellent source of calcium according to the table. One cup of dried apricots contains about 70 mg of calcium.
In addition to fruit, there are other plant-based foods that are rich in calcium. Use our tables for reference:
- Vegetables high in calcium
- Legumes high in calcium
- Grain products high in calcium
- Calcium-rich herbs and spices
- Calcium-rich juices and beverages
- Calcium-rich nuts, seeds, and kernels
Improve Calcium Absorption from Fruits
With these tricks, you can get more calcium from fruits:
- Combine calcium-rich fruits with other foods rich in vitamin D. Ideally, use vitamin D fortified yogurt alternatives or plant-based drinks when consuming fruits. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and utilization in the body.
- Avoid consuming calcium-rich foods together with foods that can inhibit calcium absorption, such as caffeinated drinks, chocolate, or refined sugar.
- Do not overcook calcium-rich fruits and avoid excessive heat treatment, as it can reduce the amount of available calcium.
- Soak dried fruits like figs or apricots before consumption to increase the bioavailability of calcium.
Calcium-Rich Fruits in a Vegan Diet
As a vegan, you can easily incorporate calcium-rich fruits into your diet. The list provides you with a few tips:
- A simple example is enjoying a serving of figs or apricots as a snack or adding them to a fresh fruit salad.
- If you enjoy baking, you can also make oatmeal cookies with figs and almonds.
- A fruit salad with papaya, mango, and pineapple, topped with a handful of almonds or cashews, is not only delicious but also a healthy option for a snack.
- A quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and orange segments is also a nutritious and tasty meal.
- You can also use blackberries to create a quick and easy dessert. Blend frozen blackberries with a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of coconut milk to make a creamy sorbet.
- You could prepare a smoothie with a banana, kiwi, kale, and coconut water to provide your body with plenty of calcium.
- A delicious recipe for a nutritious breakfast would be a smoothie made with oranges, bananas, almond milk, and a spoonful of almond butter. This smoothie contains a lot of calcium.
- For breakfast, you can also try a homemade muesli made with oats, dried apricots, sunflower seeds, and soy milk or almond milk.