Most humans are lactose intolerant — some suffer from it worse than others — but there are a plethora of non-dairy sources of calcium. Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in the body and a deficiency may have little or no symptoms in the beginning. You need calcium to grow and maintain strong bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in muscle function and your heart.
Vegans will also benefit from knowing their sources of calcium, since all animal products is off the list. We are going to list sources of food that are high in calcium and dairy free.
Your Recommended Dietary Intake
Most adults require 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, while pregnant and lactating women need about 300 milligrams more for the baby. Dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese are some of the richest sources of calcium. However, you could easily get enough without any of these foods in your diet. You can get calcium from vegetables, fish, nuts and some fortified foods, which is going in the list below:
1. Canned Sardines (with the bone)
A 3-ounce serving provides 325 milligrams of calcium (33 percent daily value)
The bones are important with this source because that’s where the calcium comes from. Sardines are also a great source of vitamin B12, selenium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A 3-ounce serving only has about 190 calories and is a great way to get your calcium intake up.
2. Chopped Kale
One-cup of raw kale provides 100 milligrams of calcium (10 percent of DV)
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse providing vitamin A,K, C, B6 and several minerals. They are easy to add to soups, stir-fry or a smoothie. It’s also very high in antioxidants, which help prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.
3. Collard Greens
A 1-cup serving of collard greens provides 84 milligrams of calcium (8 percent of DV)
It’s not the highest source of calcium but if you enjoy southern collard greens with turkey then you can add it into your list of food for the day. Like other vegetables, its rich in multiple vitamins and minerals.
4. Bok Choy
One cup of this chinese cabbage provides you with 73 milligrams of calcium (7 percent of DV)
This vegetable goes well with any stir-fry recipe and it’s a great food to add to your diet if you are seeking a high-nutrient vegetable. Its high in vitamin C and K, along with lower amounts of iron, magnesium and potassium. The best part is that one cup of this vegetable only contains about 10 calories, plus its low in sodium so you can add plenty of boy choy to your diet.
5. Garlic and 6.Chives
3 cloves of garlic has 16 milligrams of calcium (1.6 percent DV), while chives contain 92 milligrams per 100 grams (92 percent DV). 1 tablespoon of chives equals about 3 grams.
While these are relatively low sources of calcium, since they are used it small amounts to spice food. When combined with other calcium-rich foods they could help you achieve the RDA for the day. Garlic also helps you digest food and provide you with a few essential nutrients of its own.
100 grams provides 264 milligrams of calcium (26 percent DV)
Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you could eat, along with walnuts. Other than calcium, almonds contain biotin, vitamin E, manganese, vitamin B12 and manganese. One cup of almonds contain about 130 calories and provides protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Its best to eat almonds with the skin and without any added ingredients.
8. Dried Figs
A serving gives you 60 milligrams of calcium (6 percent DV)
Dried figs contain phenols, which are antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. They can be eaten as a snack, added to cakes and salads.
One cup of cooked rhubarb contains 348 milligrams of calcium (35 percent DV)
Rhubarb contains more calcium per cup than milk. This is one of the highest non-dairy sources of calcium. It’s usually eaten in crumble, salads, added to sauce and stir-fry vegetables. It’s a good source of vitamin K and C, along with numerous minerals.
10. Sesame Seeds
One cup of sesame seeds provides 1400 milligrams of calcium (140 percent DV)
Sesame seeds are easy to add into to foods, such as stir-fry chicken, couscous salad, savoury biscuits, granola bars and cereal. It’s a good source of folate, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. They are quite high on the calories so you should add about three tablespoons to your stir-fry meals or whatever you decide to use these nutritious seeds for.
11. Coconut Water
A cup of coconut water gives you 58 milligrams of calcium, or 6 percent of DV
Eating a whole coconut will provide your body with a whole lot more but replacing a soft drink or fruit juice concentrate with coconut water a few times a day can really increase your calcium intake. Coconut water is also refreshing with small amounts of multiple nutrients — notably vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and magnesium. A cup of coconut water only has about 46 calories, while a small cup of coke will have about 110 calories.
12. White Beans
One cup has 485 milligrams of calcium, that’s almost half the recommended daily value.
White beans are a great source of dietary fiber — containing about 10 grams per serving — as well as protein, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. There are several varieties of white beans and the nutrition may not be the same. Therefore, make sure you read the nutritional label when picking up some beans in the grocery store. Beans are known to give gastrointestinal issues, such as belching, flatulence or even a stomach ache. If you experience any of these symptoms try beano or eat less beans
13. Turnip Greens
A half cup of boiled or fresh turnip greens gives you about 100 milligrams of calcium or 10 percent of DV.
Pound for pound turnip greens contain about four times the calcium content as vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Turnip greens is quite bitter but very nutritious with vitamin K, A, C, folate and fiber in abundance. As with other vegetables, turnip greens are good for your heart and helps boost your antioxidant levels.
14. Soy Milk Fortified with Calcium
8 ounces of calcium-fortified soy milk provides you with 300 milligrams of calcium (30 percent DV)
Soy milk is a controversial food but contains a high amount of nutrients. If you are a woman who is planning on having a child, pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid soy products.
15. Orange Juice with Added Calcium
6 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice contains 261 milligrams of calcium (26 percent DV)
You can get orange juice with calcium at any grocery store. it will usually be highlighted in the packaging. This is an efficient way for a vegan to get up to the RDA for calcium. Two glasses of this form of orange can provide you with at least half of the RDA.
16. Salmon with the Bone
A 3 ounce serving of canned salmon can provide 181 milligrams of calcium (18 percent DV)
Salmon is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and it’s a great source of protein. As with sardines, the calcium comes from the bone, so you won’t get any of this mineral from sources that don’t contain the bone.
17. Firm Tofu (fortified with calcium)
A 1/2 a cup of firm tofu made with calcium sulfate provides 253 milligrams of calcium (25 percent DV)
Using calcium is the most common agent used to coagulate tofu, particularly in the Chinese-style preparation. This makes it a great source of calcium, as well as protein and relatively low calories.
18. Dark Chocolate
There is about 75 milligrams of calcium in a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate.
There is a lot of research on dark chocolates benefits.
19. Fortified Cereals
Cereal can contain anywhere from 100 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams of calcium (10 to 100 percent DV)
Total Whole Grain is a cereal that has 1,000 milligrams of calcium and the complete DV for several other nutrients. Instant oatmeal, coco puffs and several other cereal brand have added calcium To make sure, always check the nutritional information on the package.
20. Seaweed (Alaria)
This form of seaweed, similar to wakame contains 14 percent of the daily value in a 1/2-cup serving.
Seaweed is quite a tasty snack, it’s nutritious and very low in calories.
Foods that Inhibit Calcium Absorption
Some foods that contain phytic acid and oxalic acid make calcium difficult to digest. These compound bind with calcium, which makes it difficult for your body to absorb them. Such foods include, spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have these foods in your diet because they are healthy. Rather, avoid eating them with your richest source of calcium because they can also inhibit the absorption of other calcium-rich foods.
You should also consider taking a calcium supplement, if you don’t eat dairy products. Consult a doctor before doing so to ensure it doesn’t interact with any medication you may be taking.