What Foods Have Calcium Besides Dairy

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If you’re wanting to know what foods have calcium besides dairy, then you’ve come to the right place!

There are plenty of other food products that are rich in calcium. You just need to replace the dairy products with them and you are working on getting enough of this mineral. Here is a list of most foods that contain calcium besides dairy.

What Foods Have Calcium Besides Dairy

Milk, yogurt, and cheese provide a lot of calcium. But there are other foods that have calcium, such as kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage. You can also get calcium by eating the soft bones of canned sardines and canned salmon. And calcium is sometimes added to tofu, soy and rice drinks, fruit juice, and cereal.

Calcium is a nutrient that all living organisms need, including humans. It is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it is vital for bone health.

Humans need calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and 99%Trusted Source of the body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth. It is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It plays a role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function.

Calcium occurs naturally in many foods, and food manufacturers add it to certain products. Supplements are also available.

Alongside calcium, people also need vitamin D, as this vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D comes from fish oil, fortified dairy products, and exposure to sunlight.

This article looks at why the body needs calcium, which foods are rich in calcium, what happens if the body does not have enough, and the pros and cons of taking supplements.

Why we need calcium
a child eating broccoli Calcium plays various roles in the body. These include the following:

Bone health

Around 99% of the calcium in the human body is in the bones and teeth. Calcium is essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of bone.

As children grow, calcium contributes to the development of their bones. After a person stops growing, calcium continues to help maintain the bones and slow down bone density loss, which is a natural part of the aging process.

Females who have already experienced menopause can lose bone density at a higher rate than males or younger people. They have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, and a doctor may recommend calcium supplements.

Muscle contraction

Calcium helps regulate muscle contraction. When a nerve stimulates a muscle, the body releases calcium. The calcium helps the proteins in muscle carry out the work of contraction.

When the body pumps the calcium out of the muscle, the muscle will relax.

Cardiovascular system

Calcium plays a key role in blood clotting. The process of clotting is complex and has a number of steps. These involve a range of chemicals, including calcium.

Calcium’s role in muscle function includesTrusted Source maintaining the action of the heart muscle. Calcium relaxes the smooth muscle that surrounds blood vessels. Various studies have indicated a possible link between high consumption of calcium and lower blood pressure.

Vitamin D is also essential for bone health, and it helps the body absorb calcium. Find out moreabout vitamin D and why we need it.

Other

The following non-milk foods can provide calcium for people who don’t include milk in their diets.

Seeds and nuts
Food, serving size Milligrams of calcium
Almonds, 1/4 cup (60 ml) 93
Tahini/sesame seed butter, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) 130
Vegetables and fruit
Food, serving size Milligrams of calcium
Collards, cooked, ½ cup (125 mL) 189
Kale, frozen, cooked, ½ cup (125 mL) 95
Orange juice, fortified with calcium, ½ cup (125 mL) 155
Other foods
Food, serving size Milligrams of calcium
Tofu (with added calcium), 3/4 cup (150 g or 175 mL) 234-347
Canned salmon with bones, 2 ½ oz (75 g) 179-208
Calcium-fortified soy beverage, 1 cup (250 mL) 319-324

Notice that some greens, notably spinach and Swiss chard, are not included in this list. Even though these foods have a lot of calcium, very little calcium from these foods is available to the body, because the foods contain binders that prevent the calcium from being absorbed. Some people who avoid dairy foods take supplements to be sure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium-rich foods for vegans and people who do not consume dairy
falling seeds of a calcium rich vegan food

The following foods are rich in calcium and contain no animal-based products.

1. Chia seeds

A single ounce, or 2 tablespoons, of chia seeds provide 179 mgTrusted Source of calcium.

Chia also contains boron, which promotes the health of bones and muscles by helping the body to metabolize calciumTrusted Source, phosphorous, and magnesium.

Add chia seeds to smoothies or mix them into oatmeal or yogurt for a little added crunch.

2. Soy milk

One cup of fortified soy milk contains about the same amount of calcium as the equivalent of cow’s milk. It is important to choose a product that is fortified with calcium carbonate.

Soy milk is also rich in vitamin D, and it contains less saturated fat than whole milk with lactose.

3. Almonds

Just 1 cup of whole almonds contains 385 mgTrusted Source of calcium, which is more than one-third of the recommended daily amount.

However, the same serving also contains 838 calories and almost 72 grams of fat.

While the fat is mostly healthful and monounsaturated, the calorie count is high, and a person should limit their intake to smaller portions of a quarter cup per serving, for example.

4. Dried figs

About eight figs, or 1 cup, provides 241 mgTrusted Source of calcium.

Figs make a great sweet treat and are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Try them as a midday snack or crush them into a creamy jam.

5. Tofu

Tofu tends to be an excellent source of calcium. However, the calcium content varies, depending on the firmness and the brand, and it can range from 275–861 mg per half cup.

To receive the benefits of the calcium, read labeling carefully and only select tofu that contains calcium salt, which manufacturers use as a coagulant.

6. White beans

One cup of white beans yields 161 mgTrusted Source of calcium.

White beans are a low-fat food and are also rich in iron. Add them to a favorite soup or salad, eat them in a side dish, or use them in hummus.

7. Sunflower seeds

A single cup of sunflower seed kernels contains 109 mgTrusted Source of calcium.

These seeds are also rich in magnesium, which balances the effects of calcium in the body and regulates nerve and muscle health.

In addition, sunflower seed kernels contain vitamin E and copper.

Together, these nutrients can promote bone strength and flexibility and prevent bone loss.

However, sunflower seeds can contain high amounts of added salt, which depletes the body’s levels of calcium. For optimal health benefits, choose raw, unsalted seeds.

Also, consider a single serving to be about one handful of kernels, to avoid excessive calorie intake.

8. Broccoli rabe

Broccoli’s bitter cousin, broccoli rabe, contains 100 mgTrusted Source of calcium per cup.

Many recipes aim to tone down and complement the intense flavor of this hearty vegetable.

9. Edamame

One cup of frozen, prepared edamame contains 98 mgTrusted Source of calcium.

Available fresh or frozen and shelled or in pods, edamame contain high-quality proteins and all nine essential amino acids.

10. Kale

Just 2 cups of raw chopped kale provide about 180 mg of calcium.

Kale belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes broccoli. The leafy green is loaded with antioxidants, which can prevent or delay cell damage. Kale is also low in calories, with every 100 grams containing only 35 calories Source.

Add chopped kale to a salad or sauté or steam the vegetable as a side dish.

11. Sesame seeds

Eating just 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds adds 88 mg of calcium to a person’s diet. Try toasting them and sprinkling the seeds over a salad or baking them in bread for a nuttier flavor.

Sesame seeds also contain zinc and copper, and both are beneficial to bone health. Results of a study from 2013 suggest that supplementation with sesame seeds helped to relieve some symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

12. Broccoli

One cup of frozen broccoli has 87 mgof calcium.

A diet rich in broccoli and other members of the cruciferous family may be linked with a reduced risk of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute in the U.S.

Research in rodents suggests that compounds in broccoli can help to prevent bladder, breast, colon, liver, and stomach cancers. However, studies in humans have produced inconclusive results.

13. Sweet potatoes

One large sweet potato contains 68 mg of calcium. These vegetables are also rich in potassium and vitamins A and C.

Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that may promote good eyesight, resistance to the effects of aging, and cancer prevention.

Sweet potatoes are naturally low in fat and calories. They are popular as a side dish in some parts of the world.

14. Mustard and collard greens

Raw collard greens contain 84 mg of calcium per cup, and they are rich in other vitamins and minerals.

Raw mustard greens are also a significant source of nutrients, and they contain 64 mg of calcium per cup.

15. Okra

A single cup of raw okra contains 82 mg of calcium. Okra is also a significant source of protein, fiber, iron, and zinc.

Many people enjoy the vegetable boiled, fried, pickled, or roasted.

16. Oranges and orange juice

One large orange contains 74 mg of calcium, while a single glass of calcium-fortified orange juice contains 300 mg

17. Butternut squash

Butternut squash contains 84 mgTrusted Source of calcium per cup.

The same serving also provides 31 mg of vitamin C, which is more than one-third of the recommended daily amount. The NIH recommendthat men consume 90 mg and women consume 75 mg of the vitamin per day.

Butternut squash is also rich in vitamin A, and there are many versatile recipes.

18. Arugula

Another cruciferous vegetable, arugula, contains 32 mg of calcium per cup.

This may not seem like an impressive figure, but arugula contains a lot of water, and it is low in calories, at 5 calories per cup.

A person may eat 3 or 4 cups per serving, boosting the overall calcium intake.

Arugula also contains high amounts of a compound called erucin, which may combat cancer

 Benefits
arugula in a bowl

Eating fruits and vegetables of all kinds reduces the risk of many adverse health conditions due to their high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals.

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