Whether you are lactose intolerant, live vegan, or just don’t like milk, cheese, or yogurt, you need calcium from the foods you eat. Marcy Dorsey, RD, a nutritionist at Evergreen Health, advises eating less than one or two servings of milk a day while getting the rest of the calcium from a variety of foods. The good news is that there are many delicious foods without dairy products that are rich in calcium. In this article, we will look at the top 5 non-dairy foods that are high in calcium.
Why do you need calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in developing strong bones and teeth. One of the easiest ways to get it into your system is to consume dairy products. In addition to calcium, your body also contains other minerals that make up a large part of your bones and teeth and play a role in heart health, muscle function, and nerve signaling. For calcium to be properly absorbed the body needs magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and K. Some diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and other intestinal processes can prevent the body from absorbing adequate calcium.
Not only does calcium help children grow faster and prevent osteoporosis-related bone loss, but a study has shown that consuming enough calcium can help manage the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and reduce PMS and its severity by half. Children who get enough calcium begin their adult lives with the strongest bones possible. Calcium can also help you reduce the risk of high blood pressure, help maintain weight and prevent rare childhood rickets, which is the softening of the bones in children.
Calcium plays a leading role in bone health and also helps in the prevention of osteoporosis and cancer, but what you may not know is that there are ways to get it without dairy or supplements. While it is best to eat and drink vitamins and minerals, calcium-rich foods prove that you don’t need dairy products to get full every day.
What are the food alternatives to dairy products that are high in calcium?
Calcium is found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, but also in plant-based foods. Calcium is indispensable for building and maintaining strong bones and muscle functions and is involved in hormone regulation. It is also important for the health of bones, including the vertebrae in the spine.
If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, you might want to include an over-the-counter calcium supplement in your routine. You need to somehow get enough calcium from cheese and other dairy products to reduce the risk of complications associated with a low bone density such as osteoporosis and vertebral fractures. But what if you don’t or can’t consume dairy products?
Milk and dairy products may be very good sources of calcium, but they are not the only way to meet your calcium needs. If you eat a varied and balanced diet, you may not think about eating enough calcium. If you avoid milk and other dairy products because of lactose intolerant or choose a plant-based diet, chill out and relax. There are a lot of other foods that may help you cover your daily intake of calcium.
These options for calcium-rich milk alternatives can also provide much, much more calcium than your average cup of milk. Vegetables such as kale and spinach contain significant amounts of calcium and other vitamins and minerals that can benefit your teeth and bones. Eating calcium-rich foods is good for overall health, and dark leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and bok-choy are particularly calcium-rich. Two to three servings of these foods a day will help you meet your calcium needs.
Here are five calcium-rich dairy-free foods you can eat to strengthen your teeth and jawbones. These five foods mentioned are at the top of the best sources of calcium. These foods will help you to plan a calcium-rich, low-fat diet.
Soybeans and soy foods are good source of Calcium; also it is very effective way to take protein and vitamins in daily routine. One cup (175 grams) of immature soybeans provides around 28% calcium. As per experts one or two daily serves of soybeans and soy based food products will be beneficial for health.
Oranges are named among famous fruits that are tasty and great source of vitamins & minerals. It comes with Anti-Oxidants that are very good for skin and helps you to look younger even in your 50’s. With daily intake of 100gm Orange juice you will get around 11 mg calcium. Also due to presence of magnesium in oranges, they help to keep blood pressure under check.
Amaranth seeds are a gluten-free grain and 100mg of these cereals offers 330mg of calcium. Also it helps in reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and increased weight loss. Adding amaranth seeds powder to flour will make your rotis healthier.
You will get 975 mg of Calcium with just 100gm of Sesame which is much higher as compared to 125 mg of this mineral when you intake 100gm milk. Along with calcium, Sesame along offers minerals like zinc and copper, that are efficient for bone health too.
Just 2 tablespoon of Chia seeds offers 179mg of Calcium and it also provides boron which is also beneficial for bone health. However we not suggest you to intake excessive amount of Chia seeds as it may cause blood sugar levels to decrease.
How do these foods help?
Fortified foods such as cereals, orange juice, and dairy-free milk are very good sources of calcium, and they have considerable amounts of calcium in them.
- Soybeans are used in the production of many soy products, including soy milk and tofu, and much of the calcium is lost in the production of these products. In the production of tofu or soya milk, calcium is added to the process, which makes the final product enriched with calcium.
- Soybeans also provide vitamin D – which plays an important role in calcium absorption and is also one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Orange juice and cereals are often fortified with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, so investing in these and their non-fortified counterparts is an easy way to add additional calcium to your diet without changing your diet.
- Sesame and chia seeds are other popular sources of calcium that are not dairy products. This vegetarian favorite is great for many reasons, including the fact that it is packed with calcium.
- Fish is an excellent source of vitamin D which helps our body absorb calcium.
What amount of calcium is required by the human body on average?
Getting enough calcium can be a challenge for people who have to restrict or avoid dairy products due to lactose intolerance.
Researches show that the average adult needs 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, so make sure that you get the amount of calcium your body requires daily. Adults between 19 and 70 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day in three glasses of milk. In addition, pregnant and lactating women need between 1,200 and 1,500 mg daily of calcium. When planning meals for people with lactose intolerance, make sure that each daily meal contains sufficient calcium, even if dairy products are not included.
If you think, you are consuming less calcium than what is necessary then we have you covered. In this article, we have mentioned the top five foods that are very rich in calcium. The next time you stock up on these mentioned calcium-rich foods in the grocery store, you will consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day in no time at all.
In the above list, we used the USDA Food Composition Database to figure out how much calcium is in each food. In order of least nutritious and most effective foods, we found 5 calcium-rich foods that are easy to add to your diet.