Get Your Calcium Without the Dairy: Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

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When it comes to getting enough calcium in your diet, milk and dairy products often come to mind. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, but they are not the only way to increase intake of this important mineral. Non-dairy sources of calcium are found in abundance, making it easy to obtain enough of this mineral without drinking milk or eating cheese.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for human health. In addition to building strong bones and teeth, calcium also helps support nervous system function and muscle contraction. It also aids with hormone release, blood clotting, and nerve signaling. To maintain health, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for men and women ages 19-50 and 1,200 milligrams for those over age 50.

Unfortunately, many people are not getting the recommended intake of calcium from their diets. To reach these goals without using dairy products, it is important to identify healthy sources of calcium found in plant-based foods. Some excellent sources of non-dairy calcium include leafy green vegetables such as collard greens, turnip greens, and kale, as well as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and black-eyed peas. In addition, Sardines are said to contain a high portion of calcium.

When it comes to non-dairy sources of calcium, nobody can forget about rice and almond milk. Rice and almond milk can provide about 300 milligrams of calcium per cup, roughly the amount found in a serving of cow’s milk. In addition, both types of milk can be fortified with vitamin D, which helps increase calcium absorption.

In addition to plant-based foods with naturally high levels of calcium, you can also find plenty of other foods fortified with this important mineral. For example, orange juice, breakfast cereals, enriched breads, and plant-based milks are all typically made with added calcium. Other excellent sources of calcium-fortified foods include fortified tofu and juices, as well as calcium-enriched crackers and snacks.

Overall, non-dairy sources of calcium are plentiful and make it easy for individuals to increase their calcium intake without relying solely on dairy products. Plant-based milks, such as rice and almond milk, are especially beneficial because they provide a significant amount of calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D to aid in absorption. In addition, many traditional plant-based foods and food products also contain calcium or are fortified with calcium, providing easy to access additional sources of this important mineral.

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