Surprising Calcium Sources for Shoppers Avoiding Dairy

March 23, 2017

Shoppers can get their calcium from these fruits, vegetables, spices, seeds and more!

Calcium is a very necessary mineral, but when most of us hear calcium we automatically think milk – well think again because there are a plethora of calcium rich foods that are actually dairy free! Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body; it helps to maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth, supports our blood vessels, muscle function, nerve conduction and more.

The recommended daily intake of calcium for an adult (age 19 - 50) is 1,000 mg per day; this number varies for children and teens, pregnant women, and older people.

So where can you find calcium if milk, cheese and other dairy products aren’t your thing?

  • Dark leafy greens! For instance, a cup of raw kale contains 90 mg of calcium. Other dark leafy greens include collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, seaweed, and more, all contain significant amounts of calcium.
  • Love salad? Choose any darker green, but specifically arugula contains 65 mg of calcium per cup. A large salad, about three cups, would contain nearly one hundred mg! And if you feel so inclined, toss some steamed broccoli on top – one cup contains around 80 mg of calcium. 
  • What about fruit? Well oranges are a wonderful source of calcium and of course the immune supportive antioxidant vitamin C. One navel orange contains about 60 mg calcium. For something even sweeter, choose figs (but in moderation!), two dried figs contain over 50 mg of calcium.
  • Looking to add some zing to a dressing, try tahini or sesame seed butter as it’s loaded with the bone-building nutrient. Or sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of a salad, rice dish or poultry – one ounce (approx. 3 tbs.) contains 280 mg of calcium. Other seeds like sunflower seeds are also a great calcium source, a one-ounce serving contains 50 mg.
  • Love nuts? Almonds are a great source of calcium with 75 mg per ounce, as well as fiber, vitamin E, and more. 
  • What about edamame and other soy products? Well one cup of soybeans contains 260 mg calcium. Tofu, soymilk, and other soy products are also great calcium sources.
  • Spice up your meals with basil, dill seed, thyme, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves, which are also very good sources of calcium.
  • Other sources of calcium include romaine lettuce, celery, leeks, cabbage, summer squash, rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, chia seeds, flax seeds and crimini mushrooms.

Nutrition info gathered from Nutrition Data