How do you get enough calcium without dairy? You might be surprised but it is actually very easy to absorb more than enough of this precious nutrient on a healthy plant-based diet. Calcium is an essential mineral to build & maintain healthy bones and teeth, develop strong muscle tissue and maintain healthy blood pressure. The average adult needs about 1000 mg of it per day in order to stay healthy. If you follow a healthy plant-based diet, you won’t have any trouble reaching your daily calcium needs.
In fact, people who follow a SAD diet (Standard American Diet), which usually includes a daily amount of dairy, are often calcium-deficient. What? How is that possible? As it turns out, there are several foods that will prevent your body from absorbing the calcium it needs. These foods include caffeine, animal protein, refined salt, soda pop, alcohol & processed foods. All of these decrease your overall calcium absorption, which can lead to chronic health conditions such as osteoporosis in the long term.
So are you ready to discover my top 5 plant-based sources of calcium? Here they are…
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Kale, collard greens, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, dandelion, parsley… Use any green leafy vegetable you like! Add them to your daily salads & green juices, blend them into a delicious energy soup like this creamy garden blend soup or use them in your breakfast smoothies.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Chinese cabbage, green cabbage and turnip are all very high in calcium. Enjoy them as a crunchy snack if you can digest them raw, turn them into fermented sauerkraut or lightly steam them to ease digestion and support your thyroid. One cup of steamed broccoli contains about 180 mg of calcium.
Oranges, tangerines, kiwi fruit and papaya aren’t just high in vitamin C. They are a great source of calcium too. If you like it really sweet, you can try dried fruits such as dates, figs, apricots and prunes as well. Dried figs contain no less than 241 mg of calcium per cup, which is 24% of the daily recommend amount.
4. Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and sesame seeds are all particularly rich in calcium. Once ounce of sesame seeds contains about 280 mg of calcium – that’s even more than an entire cup of milk. Chia seeds follow the list with 180 mg of calcium per ounce, which is 18% of the recommend daily amount.
5. Beans & Lentils
Whether you prefer to sprout your legumes or enjoy them cooked, beans and lentils are a great source of easily absorbable calcium. One half cup of white beans for instance contains almost 100mg of calcium. Legumes are very high in magnesium too, an essential mineral you need to absorb calcium. Try a soothing Indian red lentil stew like the one in this Raw Recipe eBook for Beginners, treat yourself to a Mexican black bean taco or top your daily salads with plenty of sprouts.
Now I would love to hear from you! How do you maintain healthy calcium levels without dairy? Let me know by leaving a comment down below.