Got Milk? The Surprising Truth About Beef and Calcium

Raise your hand if you grew up thinking milk is the only good source of calcium I’m guessing that’s most of us! Our moms were always telling us to drink milk for strong bones and teeth But what if I told you beef can also give you a healthy calcium boost?

I know it sounds crazy. Beef and calcium go together about as well as cheese and toothpaste. But stick with me here – I promise it’s not bovine propaganda. Today we’re separating meat myth from fact to uncover the truth about beef and calcium. Got milk? Cows do and it turns out their meat can be calcium-rich too!

Why We Need Calcium

Before looking at how much moo juice beef provides, let’s quickly cover why calcium matters in the first place. This mighty mineral serves several key functions:

  • Building strong bones and teeth
  • Supporting muscle and nerve function
  • Assisting with blood clotting
  • Helping regulate heart rhythms and blood pressure

Without adequate calcium, you’re at risk for developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures or brittle bones later in life. Calcium works closely with vitamin D and phosphorus to keep bones healthy and sturdy.

Adults need around 1000mg of calcium daily. More during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Since our bodies don’t produce calcium, we have to get it through food or supplements.

Now let’s see how beef stacks up!

Evaluating Beef’s Calcium Content

When I think of dietary calcium, dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese come to mind first. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also good sources. But beef? Not so much.

While it may not be a calcium superstar, beef does contain some of this bone-building mineral. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides about 20mg of calcium. That’s about 2% of the recommended daily value.

Not too shabby! It’s certainly not enough to meet your full calcium needs, but every little bit counts. An 8-ounce steak would deliver roughly 40mg of calcium. Add that to the calcium you get from other foods and you’re making progress.

Beef’s calcium content can vary based on the cut:

  • Ground beef: 10mg per 3 ounces
  • Beef liver: 12mg per 3 ounces
  • Beef ribs: 26mg per 3 ounces

Compared to dairy, beef’s calcium contribution is pretty modest. But it’s a nice little bonus – especially when paired with foods that are richer in this mineral.

Why Beef Supports Strong Bones

In addition to some calcium, beef offers other nutrients vital for good bone health:

Zinc: This mineral is essential for growth and immunity. Oysters may have the most zinc, but beef is the most common dietary source. Zinc works with calcium to support bone mineralization.

Protein: Beef provides all 9 essential amino acids our bodies need. Protein enhances calcium absorption and builds stronger bones when combined with calcium.

Phosphorus: Found in every cell of the body, phosphorus joins with calcium to form our bones and teeth. Beef is one of the best sources of phosphorus.

Iron: Anemia and low iron can negatively affect bone mass. The iron in beef helps maintain healthy circulation and oxygen delivery for stronger bones.

So while the calcium in beef alone won’t strengthen your skeleton, it partners with beef’s other nutrients to support optimal bone health.

Other Surprising Calcium Sources

Creativity counts when it comes to meeting your daily calcium requirement. While milk, yogurt, and cheese are common go-tos, here are some unexpected foods that deliver calcium:

  • Tofu: Half a cup of firm tofu contains over 250mg calcium. Try marinated baked tofu for an easy side dish.

  • White beans: 1 cup of these fiber-rich legumes provides about 160mg calcium. Add beans to soups, stews, and salads.

  • Almonds: A quarter cup of almonds has 95mg calcium. Enjoy them raw, roasted, or add sliced almonds to oatmeal or yogurt.

  • Kale: One cup of cooked kale packs around 90mg calcium. Kale chips or sautéed kale make great calcium-rich snacks.

  • Fortified cereals and juices: Check the label for options fortified with calcium and vitamin D. They provide an easy calcium boost.

Beef may not seem like a natural calcium provider, but these other foods prove you’ve got options beyond just dairy!

Tips for Absorbing Calcium from Beef

To get the most calcium from beef, consider these preparation tips:

  • Marinate it: Marinades containing vinegar or lemon juice help break down connective tissue so you absorb calcium better.

  • Don’t overcook: Well-done beef can make it tougher for your body to access and absorb calcium. Medium rare is ideal.

  • Pair with vitamin C: Foods high in vitamin C like oranges, peppers, or broccoli enhance calcium absorption.

  • Watch the salt: Excess sodium causes more calcium to be lost in urine. Go easy on the salt shaker.

Who knew a nice steak could help you meet your calcium needs? While beef likely won’t provide all the calcium you need in a day, it can make a meaningful contribution – especially when partnered with other calcium-containing foods.

How Do You Get Calcium On The Carnivore Diet?


Is beef rich in calcium?

Calcium is one of the major components that keep the bones strong. Here are thirteen foods that increase calcium in the body: Meats: Some of the highest calcium-containing meats include anchovy, clams, crab meat, shrimp, beef, trout, pork, chicken breast, and canned tuna.

Which animal food is rich in calcium?

Red Meat
Fish (e.g. Cod, Trout, Herring, Whitebait)
Tuna, canned

Is beef a calcium-rich food?

While beef is not typically thought of as a calcium-rich food, it does contain some amount of this important mineral. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of beef contains approximately 20 milligrams of calcium. While this may not seem like a lot, every little bit counts when it comes to meeting your daily calcium needs.

Is beef high in calcium?

Beef contains many other vitamins and minerals in lower amounts as well. However, it’s important to note that processed beef products such as sausages may be high in sodium (salt). Not all cuts of beef are created equal when it comes to calcium content.

Does beef help with calcium absorption?

Additionally, beef can also help with calcium absorption. Protein from meat has been shown to increase calcium absorption and have beneficial effects on bone health. This means that consuming beef alongside other calcium-rich foods can help your body absorb more of the calcium from those foods.

What are calcium rich foods?

This is because calcium content varies depending on the method of production, recipe, or brand. Some of the foods listed may be available as calcium-enriched products in some countries (e.g. soy, non-dairy drinks, cereals, breads). Download our printable list of calcium rich foods, available in multiple languages.

Leave a Comment