The Unexpected Protein That Has More Calcium Than A Glass Of Milk

Meat, poultry, and other protein food sources have a lot more calcium than you might suspect. In 100 grams of cooked ground beef, for example, you get 24 milligrams of the nutrient, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the same-size serving of roasted chicken breast meat, you'll find 15 milligrams of calcium (via USDA), the same amount contained in the same-size serving of cooked wild Atlantic salmon (via USDA).

Of course, we know the king of calcium content to be the all-mighty glass of milk. Essential to the development of our teeth and bones, calcium also supports healthy circulation and hormone production and ensures the proper functioning of our muscles and nerves. In an 8-ounce glass of 1% low-fat milk (246 grams, or approximately 1 cup), you'll find 310 milligrams of calcium (via USDA). Just this one glass of milk gets us well on our way towards the recommended daily intake for calcium, which is 1,000 milligrams for those between the ages of 19 and 50. 

However, there's another protein source that can do us one better, and it's not meat, poultry, or fish. Rather, it's tofu. 

Tofu has more calcium than a cup of low-fat milk

People who opt for plant-based sources of protein over animal sources often turn to tofu. Made up of soybean, water, and calcium sulfate, tofu can help strengthen muscles, support cardiovascular health, and potentially fight against inflammation and cancer. It might not eclipse ground beef, chicken, or fish in terms of protein content, but tofu certainly outshines that glass of low-fat milk when it comes to both protein and calcium. An 8-ounce glass of 1% low-fat milk (246 grams) contains 8.32 grams of protein (via USDA). If we compare that to 1 cup of regular tofu (248 grams), you get 20 grams of protein (via USDA).

Of course, the main focus here is calcium, so let's take a closer look at those numbers. As we said, in 1 cup of 1% low-fat milk, you get 310 milligrams of calcium, compared to 1 cup of regular tofu, where you'll find an impressive 868 milligrams. Better yet, you get even more calcium with 1 cup of firm tofu, which contains a staggering 1,722 milligrams (via USDA). When it comes to regular versus firm tofu, the difference is how much water it holds. Other types of tofu include silken, extra-firm, and super-firm.

Tofu has more calcium than a glass of whole milk

Even if we took a look at other popular types of milk, tofu still gives us more bang for our buck in terms of calcium. In 1 cup of whole milk (244 grams), for example, you get 300 milligrams of calcium (via USDA) compared to the 868 milligrams contained in approximately the same-size serving of regular tofu and the 1,722 milligrams found in the same serving of firm tofu (via USDA).

Tofu is typically paired with a variety of dishes, such as sandwiches, stews, manicotti, or Thai noodles. However, some people are encouraged to exercise caution when it comes to tofu consumption. This includes individuals with breast cancer tumors, as the isoflavone compounds in soybeans may have a minor effect on estrogen function, reports Healthline. Because tofu also contains goitrogens, people with thyroid problems may also want to check with their doctor before incorporating tofu into their diet, as goitrogens can get in the way of healthy thyroid activity, according to 2021 research published in Advances in Food and Nutrition Research.