Calcium Rich Foods that are Dairy-free
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and around 99% of the calcium found in our body is stored in our bones and teeth. Most people are aware of the importance of calcium in their daily diets - it’s something that many of us have instilled in us from a young age.
Children need calcium as they grow to help them build strong bones (and teeth) as they develop and grow - and adults require it to maintain optimal function and bone density. Bone density naturally decreases with age, and those deficient in calcium are at higher risk for osteoporosis and brittle, easily breakable bones. There’s never been any debate over the importance of calcium however the sources of calcium is something that has been heavily cloaked in clever marketing and message manipulation over the past few decades.
Many of us grew up being told that dairy was THE source of calcium, with little other suggestion offered up as alternate options. Indeed, dairy is a source of calcium however it is by no means the only source (or even the most rich). In fact, dark leafy greens, chickpeas and tofu actually contain more calcium per serve than a glass of milk!
This is great news if you're vegan, simply don’t enjoy dairy or are amongst the 70% of the world’s population who are lactose intolerant or suffer from dairy allergies.
In reality there's a wealth of other non-dairy food sources of calcium available, many of which boast additional health benefits beyond simply their mineral content.
Another powerful reminder of the value and availability of the diverse range of nutritional support that can be found in a wholegrain plant-based diet… debunking many of the conventional and traditional myths that so many of us have believed and been told for so long.
So, whether you’re vegan, intolerant to dairy, or simply looking for a non-dairy substitute to support your calcium intake, here are some nutritious calcium rich foods:
Soybeans, white beans, navy beans, and pinto beans, in particular, are all good sources of calcium. Here at Rawries, we’re great fans of beans and their tremendous versatility. Made into dips, added to sauces, salads or make into spreads, the options really are endless for this delicious and nutritious protein rich food. Look at our white bean dip for some inspiration.
Try cubed Tofu in place of a meat-based protein. This bean curd, most often made from soybeans and a staple across Asia, offers up 1/3 of your daily calcium requirement in just one cup. You could consume your soybeans boiled and salted in Edamame, the popular dish hailing from Japan. White beans, chickpeas and black eyed peas are some other varieties with impressive levels of calcium. They are also good sources of meatless protein and are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps naturally lower blood pressure and reduce bloat. Check out our Tofu Dip for a dairy free option.
Collard greens, kale, turnip greens and broccoli not only carry an impressive amount of calcium, but they are high in vitamin A. Kale also packs a healthy dose of vitamins C and K, the latter important in blood clotting. Bok Choy, or Chinese cabbage, is another in this family of calcium and nutrient dense foods. All these greens are also extremely low in calories and high in fibre, making them perfect foods to include in a wholefoods weight loss plan.
Nuts and Seeds:
A cup of almonds holds more than 1/3 of the calcium you need each day, as well as nutritious healthy fats, fiber, protein, and vitamin E. Almond milk forms a nutritious alternative for those who are looking for a calcium-rich dairy milk substitute. Sunflower seeds also package Vitamin E with their calcium and contain other important and hard to find minerals like selenium and folate. Nuts, much like beans are also incredibly versatile and can be soaked in water and then blended to make delicious dairy-free dips, desserts and slices. (link where appropriate)
One tablespoon of fennel seeds contains 59 mg of calcium. Fennel is a fantastic way to liven up a boring salad. Chia seeds are another potent source of calcium- with 2 tablespoons containing 177 mg of calcium. They are also the richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids (gram for gram containing more than salmon!) as well as containing magnesium and boron, trace minerals that help the body to absorb calcium.
Sesame seeds are another powerful source of calcium, which also contain generous amounts of copper, zinc and manganese- which support antioxidant creation to keep bones strong and flexible through targeting free radicals and preventing oxidative stress,
It’s not often that we associate fruit with calcium. Vitamins most definitely, but not traditionally calcium, or even iron! Figs in particular contain the most calcium content per serve, followed by orange, which is also a rich source of fibre, vitamin C and potassium.
Berries are another great source of calcium - and most definitely one of the most popular and easily eaten amongst children.
There are plenty of places besides the dairy aisle to find nutritious sources of dietary calcium.
Rawries is passionately committed to making raw wholegrain plant-based food convenient, achievable and absolutely delicious... for everyone! Visit our blog for articles and evidence based research discussions around the healthful benefits of incorporating "more raw" into your diet, as well as tips on how to boost your nutrition and overall wellbeing. For raw vegan inspirations, head to our vibrant recipe selection of breakfasts, mains, salads and soups, sauces and dips, desserts and fresh juices and smoothies. We can't wait to hear what you think of them!