When you think of Indian food, you might think of the fiery spices that its known for rather than the cooling taste of high-calcium foods such as yogurt and cheese. However, these ingredients are prevalent in traditional Indian curries, dips and drinks such as lassi.
Yogurt is used in Indian cooking to thicken korma, a mild, creamy curry, as well as starring as the main ingredient in raita, a yogurt-based dip flavored with cucumber and sometimes mint. Yogurt is also used as a primary ingredient in lassi, a savory blended drink made with yogurt, salt and fruit. A 1-cup serving of whole-milk yogurt has 296 milligrams of calcium, 149 calories and almost 8 grams of total fat. This amount of calcium is about 28 percent of the daily value for healthy adults age 19 to 50.
Paneer: Fresh Indian Cheese
Paneer has been a part of cooking in the Indian subcontinent since 6000 B.C. A fresh, kneaded cheese made from cow milk, paneer has a chewy yet firm texture. It takes center stage in a number of Indian dishes, such as paneer with tomato sauce, saag paneer and kadhai paneer. A 3.5-ounce serving of paneer has 208 milligrams of calcium per serving -- slightly more than 20 percent of the daily value -- with almost 21 grams of fat per serving.
Additional Sources of Calcium
Tofu, a soy product, often stands in as the primary protein in Indian cuisine, and it also offers 125 milligrams of calcium, around 12.5 percent of the daily value, per 3-ounce serving. Additional sources of calcium found in Indian cuisine include chickpeas, which have 84 milligrams per cup, and spinach, which has 245 milligrams per 1-cup cooked serving.
Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth and aids in the dilation and constriction of blood vessels, muscle contractions and nerve transmissions. Having enough calcium in your diet helps to prevent osteoporosis. The recommended dietary allowance of calcium for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day. For pregnant women, the RDA is 1,300 milligrams.