Top 13 Calcium-Rich Foods That are Not Dairy

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for our health.

The good news is we have more calcium in our body than any other mineral.

The bad news is, we still have to consume calcium-rich foods to keep our body working properly.

Calcium makes up much of your bones and teeth, but also plays a key role in cardiovascular health and muscle functioning [1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337919/.

If you want to know how much calcium you need, the daily recommended intake for adults is 1,000mg per day.

Women over 50 and everyone over 70 should up that consumption to 1,200mg per day.

Children between 4 and 18 years old, should also consume more calcium, or up to 1,300mg per day.

Sadly, a large percentage of people do not get their daily recommended intake of calcium [2]https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/06-chapter-1/d1-11.asp#figure-d1-1.

What follows is a lot of people suffer from calcium deficiency.

Despite many foods high in calcium on the market, some people still fail to meet the daily value.

Part of the problem is not all of us are fans of milk.

It is the No.1 source of calcium, but not all of us consume cow’s milk or other dairy products.

With that in mind, we will take a look at a list of foods that can help you up your calcium consumption, without drinking a glass of milk [3]https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-and-milk/calcium-full-story/ .

How much calcium is in milk?

Two bottles of milk

Just for comparison, one cup of cow’s milk has between 270 and 350mg of calcium.

The value depends on whether the milk is whole or non-fat.

And the good news is calcium is absorbed well in dairy.

Milk is also a great source of vitamin A and vitamin D, as well as protein.

If you like, you can also try goat’s milk, which packs about 320mg of calcium per cup.

Other sources of calcium

1. Seeds

sesame seeds in a bowl

Considered widely nutritional powerhouse, seeds pack a wide variety of essential nutrients in just a small body [4]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2.

For example, sesame, celery, and chia seeds are very high in calcium.

Sesame seeds deliver almost 100mg of calcium per 1 tablespoon and are considered the best source of calcium among seeds.

In addition, seeds will give you a healthy dose of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are looking for more protein and fatty acids, but some calcium as well, go for chia seeds.

2. Cheese

cheese

While it is a dairy product, cheese is not milk.

Being a dairy product makes cheese a great source of calcium.

Parmesan cheese is absolutely the cream of the crop, packing 330mg per ounce [5]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/8/2.

Softer cheeses have less calcium.

For example, brie cheese delivers just 52mg of calcium.

The good news about cheese is that the calcium is more easily absorbed.

When calcium comes from plant sources, your body might have troubles absorbing the mineral.

Similar to seeds, you can go for something like cottage cheese, which is one of the best protein-rich foods, and still get a decent amount of calcium.

For those with lactose problems, go for aged and hard cheeses which are very low in lactose.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt with strawberry

The best part about yogurt is that you boost your overall health [6]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/106/2.

Rich in probiotics, or healthy bacteria, yogurt delivers between 100mg and 240mg of calcium.

But more importantly, yogurt delivers vitamin B2, vitamin B12, potassium, and phosphorus.

Low-fat yogurt options have even more calcium than regular yogurt.

4. Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils

Vegetarians consume beans and lentils to up their protein consumption.

These foods are also great sources of fiber, and minerals like iron, calcium, folate, magnesium, and potassium.

Wing beans are on the top of the chart, packing 250mg of calcium per single cup of cooked beans [7]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_bean.

If you want something else, try white beans.

Most lentils and beans deliver between 5 and 8% of the daily recommended intake.

5. Figs

Figs on table

You have to eat the whole fruit in order to reap the health benefits of figs [8]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1884/2 .

Dried figs are known for their richness in fiber and antioxidants.

Dried figs are better source of calcium than other dried fruits, packing more than 5% of daily recommended intake in just one ounce.

You can go with fresh or dried figs, it doesn’t matter.

And the best part is, they are versatile fruits you can add to oatmeal, salads, or prepare a meal with Greek yogurt, cinnamon and honey.

Just 3 medium figs are good enough for 50mg of calcium.

6. Clams

Steamed Clams

The best part about clams is they deliver low-fat protein to the table as well [9]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4180/2.

In terms of calcium, 3oz of clams, or 9 small clams pack around 35mg of calcium.

While that is not much, it is still better than 0.

7. Baby carrots

Baby carrots

Carrots are mostly known for their richness in vitamin A and beta-carotene.

But they also pack decent amounts of minerals like calcium.

Their great ratio of calorie to fiber is what will help you keep a flat belly.

One large or two medium carrots contain around 50mg of calcium.

8. Broccoli

broccoli soup

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that contain more nutrients when cooked.

One cup of cooked broccoli packs around 60mg of calcium, which is more than good to keep broccoli as your side dish [10]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2.

9. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Same as carrots, sweet potatoes are more known as a source of beta-carotene and vitamin A.

But this humble root vegetable is a good source of minerals like calcium and potassium.

One large sweet potato has almost 70mg of calcium, making it good enough to find a place on your table.

10. Almonds

almonds in a bowl

The reality is that most nuts are high in calcium.

However, almonds are on the top of that list [11]http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2.

One ounce of almonds, which is approximately 20 nuts, delivers almost 10% of the daily recommended intake of calcium.

Almonds are also a decent source of fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

11. Leafy greens

Leafy greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens can bring a small amount of calcium to your dinner table.

And that is not something to ignore.

For example, one cup of cooked collard greens packs 260mg of calcium.

The problem with leafy greens is they are also high in oxalates, compounds that bind to calcium.

Even though they are rich in calcium, your body might not absorb all of that.

12. Edamame and tofu

edamame

Vegans and vegetarians should also have a good source of calcium, one that is not milk.

For example, soy products like edamame deliver 10% of the RDI of calcium, while half a cup of tofu gives you almost 90% of the daily recommended intake.

13. Sardines

sardines on a plate

The absolute gold standard of calcium-rich foods that is not dairy.

Sardines pack more than 300mg of calcium per 3 ounces.

And while they might not be your favorite dish, you should definitely get canned sardines in oil with bones every now and then.

Cheap, but also healthy, sardines are packed with nutrients, but also omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.

The bone is where all the calcium comes from.

Therefore, you should eat sardines with bones.

And while it seems hard to swallow, you have to eat sardines this way to reap the benefits.

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