10 Surprising non-dairy sources of calcium
Calcium is one of our most important minerals. It helps to keep our bones strong and healthy, thereby preventing chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis, and it helps our blood to clot. And because 99% of our calcium is in our teeth and bones, we rely on it to preserve the health of our molars.
If you’re looking to get your calcium fix somewhere other than dairy, the question always becomes: ‘But where do I look?’ Subsisting on a dairy-free diet is sometimes necessary if you’re lactose intolerant, but it can also be challenging at first. Because milk is a prime source of calcium, you will now need to look for alternative sources. The good news is that there are numerous non-dairy sources of calcium that have got your back. Let’s take a look.
You can also eat salmon fillets or smoked salmon, but if you’re looking to swap a 90 cents bottle of milk for a similarly priced alternative, we would have to suggest canned salmon.
Moreover, smoked salmon comes without any bones, which means that you lose the calcium content anyway because it is in the bones where this ace mineral is found.
In canned salmon, the bones are mashed up with the fish, so that you get all the goodness. And because the bones are mashed up, they are softened, which means you don’t need to worry about any sharp bits getting stuck in your throat!
Bok Choy, which is also known as Chinese cabbage, is another one of fabulous non-dairy sources of calcium. A leaf vegetable, it contains 105mg of calcium per 100g of serving. The best thing is that a whopping 54% of the calcium content is absorbed by our body! To put this into perspective, we can only absorb around 6% of the calcium found in spinach, and just 32% from milk. Not bad, huh?
Bok choy is also really versatile, and is rich in numerous vitamins and fibre. You can chuck it in a stir fry or serve it as a side dish with garlic. Lovely.
Just a single tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains 172mg of calcium. That’s pretty great!
Careful, though; blackstrap molasses is incredibly rich in flavour, so it’s only really for those with a really sweet tooth. If you’re looking for non-dairy sources of calcium, it’s a better option than regular molasses because it’s loaded with much more calcium. This dark molasses also contains more vitamins and iron. Just drape it onto your pancakes, or make some brown sugar with it. Scrumptious.
Tofu is one of the very best non-dairy sources of calcium. If you like the taste, you’re onto a winner here, because a single 100gm serving contains a massive 350mg of calcium.
Tofu is also known as bean-curd, and represents a genuine alternative, not just to calcium, but also to meat in general (if you’re not into this meat thing, too). Essentially, it’s coagulated soy milk that is available in small white blocks. Be careful, though: there are numerous types of tofu available, so their calcium content will vary.
Kale is the number one superfood at the moment, and is known as the Queen of Greens. It’s also known as the new beef; yup, that’s how good it is!
Two cups of raw chopped kale contain almost 200mg of calcium, which equates to 20% of your recommended daily amount. As well as calcium, it is also rich in antioxidants, and can be easily sliced, cut or shredded and added to your next salad. Try it with apricots and avocado, or even substitute it for spinach on your next pizza or in green smoothie. Lovely.
One of fantastic non-dairy sources of calcium is broccoli. For every 100g serving of broccoli, you get 47mg of calcium. The thing is though, you will need to eat a fair amount of broccoli to get your calcium fix, because our bodies are not very good at absorbing it.
Still, this dark leafy green vegetable also contains lots of vitamin C (double the amount of an orange), and has been linked to reducing your risk of cancer, particularly colon and bladder.
Herbs are edible plants that we used to flavour our food. There are numerous culinary herbs around the world, included basil, bay leaves, coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, lavender, jasmine, mustard and dill. So many times we sprinkle these exotic spices over our food purely for taste and decoration. Rarely do we stop to think about their nutrients.
Well, the good news is that you can now start sprinkling even more herbs on top of your salads and soups in a bid to soak up more calcium. Fresh herbs such as mint, celery seed, rosemary, thyme and dill are packed with calcium. Not only will they liven up your food, but they will also liven up your body.
The Japanese are among the world’s best dieticians, and there are Japanese islanders who live longer than anyone else on the planet. This is purely and simply down to their lifestyle, a major part of which is their diet. A diet that doesn’t rely on dairy.
The Japanese just love seaweed. As well as its sharp and gorgeous taste, seaweed is one of amazing non-dairy sources of calcium. You can either eat seaweed as a starter or side dish, or you can include it in a tasty miso soup.
We recommend that you eat a lot of nuts, because nuts in general are stuffed with calcium. But if there is one type of nut in particular that you should pay attention to, it’s the almond.
Almonds are absolutely jam-packed with calcium. A single cup contains a mega 457mg of the mineral.
At the same time, you should employ mindful eating when it comes to almonds; don’t snack on a whole cup at a time, because it also contains over 1,000 calories. Yikes.
Like almonds, sesame seeds are great to eat as a snack, and you can substitute them for chocolate or sweets.
They also represent a great alternative to dairy when it comes to your calcium fix, with just a single tablespoon containing 88mg of the mineral.
What are your favourite non-dairy sources of calcium?