8 Calcium-Rich Non-Dairy Foods
Calcium is important for maintaining healthy teeth and bones, especially when we're young and growing, and in our later years when we begin to lose bone mass. It's recommended that we get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, but many Americans fall short of this target.
If you aren’t getting enough calcium, you might not realize it right away, as there aren’t many early warning signs of calcium deficiency. However, a serious deficiency comes with a long list of side effects, such as dental problems, cataracts, changes in the brain, and osteoporosis.
Many people turn to dairy products when they need to get more calcium in their diets. But dairy foods aren't the only good source of calcium. If you're vegan, dairy-sensitive, or favor a plant-based diet, it's still possible to meet your calcium needs. Here are some of the best non-dairy food sources of calcium.
1. White Beans White beans contain 19% of your daily value of calcium in just one serving. They also contain a ton of iron, which can help prevent anemia. It's easy to add white beans to a pasta salad or chili, or make hummus with white beans instead of chickpeas.
2. Sardines In seven sardine fillets, you get 32% of your daily value of calcium. You also get a high dose of vitamin D and omega 3. As a bonus, the vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and other nutrients. Some people enjoy eating sardines straight from the can, but others prefer to mix them into dishes like a Greek salad. A dressing can help take away the strong taste of the sardines and bring out the best flavors in the fish.
3. Bok Choy One cup of bok choy contains 74 milligrams of calcium or 7% of your daily value. A type of Chinese Cabbage, bok choy is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Try sauteeing bok choy in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
4. Figs Eight figs contain a total of 10% of your daily value of calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants. If you’re looking for a midday work snack, dried figs are an excellent option. Not only do they taste delicious on their own, but they are very easy to store. If you're feeling a little more creative, you can puree the figs to make a jam spread for crackers.
5. Kale Most people already know kale is a superfood, but did you know that kale contains 19% of your daily value of calcium in just two cups? You can serve it raw with other salad greens or add it to your morning smoothie!
6. Blackstrap Molasses Blackstrap molasses does more than satisfy your sweet tooth, it also contains 17% of your daily value of calcium in one tablespoon. You can pour it over your pancakes in place of syrup.
7. Black-Eyed Peas Half a cup of black-eyed peas contains 18% of your daily value of calcium, potassium, folate, and other essential nutrients. An easy way to incorporate black-eyed peas into your diet is by pureeing them to make a sandwich spread or serving some as a side dish.
8. Algae Calcium Algae calcium isn't really a food, but a plant-based calcium supplement3. Unlike traditional rock calciums like calcium carbonate or calcium citrate, algae calcium is naturally full of dozens of trace minerals. What makes algae calcium unique is that it is very close to the mineral composition found in human bones, as far as variety and quantity is concerned. The minerals in algae are "predigested" by the plant, making them easier for the body to absorb.
If you aren't getting enough calcium in your diet, our Plant-Based Bone Strength supplement made with algae calcium is a good source of the minerals you need for healthy bones.