The 7 Best Vegan Calcium Sources, No Dairy RequiredBillion Vegans Media
Did your parents ever tell you to drink your milk so you could be the strongest boy or girl in school? Well, mine did, and it made me fall for the misconception that if I wanted to get enough calcium, I would have to consume a lot of dairy products. Guess what? Dairy-free foods are some of the richest sources of calcium out there and can provide all your body needs for strong bones.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is an essential mineral that keeps our bodies functioning properly, so it’s important to be aware of all the different sources.
Calcium is necessary because it makes your bones and teeth strong. It also promotes blood circulation, skin health, and other body functions. In order to properly absorb the calcium, you need vitamin D as well. So yeah, go out and lay on the beach for a while, because there is no better source of vitamin D than the sun.
But not everyone absorbs enough D from sunlight, especially in winter. You can boost your D intake with fortified foods, such as juice, dairy-free milk, and some cereals. There are also a number of vegan vitamin D supplements available, too.
So, how do vegans get their daily dose of calcium? Here are some excellent plant-based sources.
Vegan Calcium-Rich Foods
1. Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are rich in calcium. One cup of cooked collard greens contains 21 percent or the RDA for calcium. Spinach contains 19 percent. Other leafy green options rich in calcium include kale, bok choy, watercress, broccoli, and parsley. All of these vegetables are not only great sources of calcium, they are also packed with other essential vitamins and nutrients vital for a healthy body.
2. Plant-based milk
If you like to pour milk in your coffee or your breakfast cereal or use it for baking, you’re probably familiar with some of the many plant-based options out there, such as almond milk, soy milk, and cashew milk. As almonds are packed with calcium, almond milk makes a great calcium source. Some non-dairy milks contain even more calcium than cow’s milk. Read your labels and look for an option with the least amount of sugar, too.
Highly nutritional and full of calcium. A one-ounce serving contains approximately 80 mg of calcium. These nuts are an easy grab-and-go snack and they can also be added to all sorts of dishes. Swap almond butter in place of peanut butter; try almond milk yogurt or ice cream, or add almond milk to your coffee or cereal.
A staple in the Middle East, tahini is sesame seed paste, flavorful, and rich in calcium. You likely know it best as the creaminess in hummus. Just two tablespoons contain more than 128 mg of calcium — about 9 percent of the RDA. You can use tahini as a base for salad dressings, spreads, or sauces, or use it in vegan baking. Sesame seeds on their own offer calcium, too. Sprinkle them generously on your cereal, avocado toast, salads, pasta, and even ice cream.
5. Chia seeds
Chia seeds pack a whole lot of nutrients into their little tiny seed bodies. One ounce contains 18 percent of the RDA for calcium. They’re so easy to use and enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or a quick snack (just add water and turn them into a pudding. Sweeten with agave).
6. Dried Figs
Just two dried figs contain 65 mg of calcium. And, let’s be honest, who can only eat two of these sweet things? Dried figs are such a healthy snack bursting with fiber and a whole host of nutrients beyond just calcium. Keep them handy for an easy on-the-go snack, turn them into pie crusts with nuts and seeds, dice up and toss into salads, or see what happens when you try to replicate the mighty Fig Newton in your own kitchen.
Oranges are known for their vitamin C content, but they’re also little calcium balls, too. One orange contains 55 mg. Peel open a navel or Valencia for that immune-boosting C and enjoy a healthy calcium kick, too.