Make sure you’re getting the calcium you need
From strong bones and teeth to keeping your heartbeat regular, calcium is a crucial nutrient that helps the body fulfill many functions. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are well known for being calcium powerhouses, but if you don’t eat dairy, you can still get all the calcium you need from other sources. Here are 10 non-dairy sources of calcium.
Leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and Chinese cabbage offer calcium and are more bioavailable than other leafy green sources like spinach and Swiss chard. One cup of cooked collard greens provides 266 mg of calcium. That’s more than 20 percent of the 1000 – 1200 mg of calcium recommended daily for adults. You can put some calcium in your next lunch with this delicious recipe for Stuffed Collard Leaves with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce.
Known as a superfood, chia seeds offer plenty of calcium. Just an ounce of chia seeds contains about 17 percent of the daily calcium needs for adults. Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet, making a great addition to smoothies, salads, breads, and puddings. This Matcha Pistachio Chia Pudding Parfait can be made dairy-free and is a tasty way to tap into the calcium power of chia seeds.
Fish with edible bones like sardines and salmon are a great source of calcium. Just an ounce of sardines with bones contains 108 mg of this essential nutrient. Sardines come with a myriad of other health benefits as well, and can be easily incorporated into several healthy meals. Try it in this recipe for Marinated Sardines with Cucumber and Heirloom Tomatoes.
Soybeans can pack a big calcium punch, making tofu—which is made from soybeans—a great choice for getting your needed calcium. Firm tofu made with calcium sulfate (which helps it stick together) can offer a whopping 506 mg of calcium per cup. Try this Fruity Tofu with Sweet Potato Wedges recipe to add a healthy dose of calcium to your next dinner.
Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, with just a tablespoon delivering about 88 mg. Sesame seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of ways, including to make tahini—a paste of toasted and ground sesame seeds that is found in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and baba ghanoush. Both tahini and whole sesame seeds feature in these Tahini Miso Power Balls, providing an energy pick-me-up with a hit of calcium.
A unique fruit, figs are inverted flowers that are eaten before they bloom. Long enjoyed as a sweet treat, figs are also a good food choice to help you get your calcium. In fact, just two dried figs can provide 65 mg of calcium. Indulge in the sweet, honey taste of fresh figs in this dairy-free Fig and Caramelized Onion Tart with Lemon Cashew Cheese.
Oranges are another fruit that provide calcium, with one whole orange providing about 55 mg of the nutrient. For an even bigger hit of calcium, you can reach for fortified orange juice, which can provide about 349 mg of calcium in just one cup. However, calcium contents will vary by brand, so be sure to check the label. Make oranges part of a quick and healthy breakfast with these ready-to-go Carrot Orange Smoothie Packs.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable—a member of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts—making it a good source of calcium. A cup of broccoli can give you 60 mg of calcium. Whether eaten raw, like in this Raw Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Blueberry “Caviar,” or cooked, like in this Roasted Broccoli Microgreen Soup, broccoli can be a delicious way to get your veggies and your calcium at the same time.
Almond milk makes a delicious replacement for dairy milk, and with the availability of fortified almond milks at your local grocery store, you don’t have to miss out on the calcium that conventional cow’s milk provides. A glass of fortified almond milk can provide about 300 mg of calcium. However, almond milk isn’t the only non-dairy milk in the game. Check out these five plant-based milks and why you should try them.
Research suggests that adolescents, women, vegans, those who are lactose intolerant, and the elderly are at greater risk for calcium deficiencies. If you are concerned you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, supplements may be able to help, but be sure to talk with your doctor first. Calcium supplements come in a wide range of forms, including capsules, gummies, and drinks. Some calcium supplements also contain vitamin D, which helps your body absorb even more of the super nutrient.