Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for your general health. According to the National Health Service, UK, adults in the age bracket of 19 to 64 require about 700 mg of calcium intake daily. While dairy products are the best source to obtain daily calcium requirements, you can also acquire plentiful calcium from plant-based products or other sources.
Therefore, whether you are a lactose-intolerant, vegan, or simply a non-dairy fan, these 18 calcium-rich foods will fulfil your daily calcium recommendation.
1. Chia seeds
Two tablespoons of chia seeds pack 179 mg of calcium! Chia is also rich in boron, which promotes healthy bones and muscles and aids the body in absorbing other nutrients like magnesium and phosphorus.
2. Soy Milk
A cup of fortified soy milk contains 340 mg calcium. While choosing soy milk, ensure it is fortified with calcium carbonate. Enriched with Vitamin D, soy milk has less saturated fat than whole lactose milk.
3. Sesame seeds
One tablespoon of sesame seeds can add 88 mg of calcium to your diet. Additionally, these seeds contain protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus, which are beneficial for the body.
Recipe idea: Dry roast and sprinkle sesame seeds over your salads, soups, and vegetables. They will add a delectable crunch to your preparations.
Just a single cup of almonds with 385 mg of calcium can fulfil over one-third of the daily required amount of calcium. Grab a handful of these nuts as an evening snack and reap their other benefits like Vitamin E, fibre, magnesium, and healthy fats.
Fortified tofu is a smart choice for calcium as it doesn’t contain gluten or cholesterol. Right from 275 mg to 861 mg, the range of calcium is vast and depends on various factors, including the brand, firmness, and use of calcium salt.
Recipe idea: An excellent source of protein, tofu can be added to stir-fry, scrambles, and salads.
6. Sunflower seeds
Raw and unsalted sunflower seeds make a great healthy snack. A single cup of these kernels packs 109 mg of calcium. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of magnesium, Vitamin E, and copper.
Recipe idea: Top your salads with sunflower seeds to add crunch. You can simply munch on a handful of them as a snack.
A cup of frozen broccoli holds 87 mg of calcium, just a little less than the amount of calcium that can be derived from a glass of milk (100 mg). This cruciferous veggie has a host of other essential nutrients like vitamin A, B6, and C.
8. Oranges and orange juice
Oranges are famous for their natural calcium nutrient. While one big orange can help you gain 74 mg of calcium, a glassful of orange juice that is fortified with calcium contains 300 mg of the same. However, orange juices come with high sugar content, therefore exercise caution while consuming them.
9. Amaranth seeds
Amaranth seeds, famously known as Ramdana or Rajgira, are a high calcium food. One cup of these cooked seeds can give you 116 mg of calcium power. These tiny grains pack more than 100 mg of the bone-supporting mineral.
Recipe idea: Add more nutrition to your salads and cereals by adding some Rajgira seeds to them. You can also make healthier chapatis by adding amaranth powder to your regular wheat flour.
10. White beans
A wonderful source of nutrients, this household white bean ensures 161 mg of calcium in a single cup serving. High in iron and low in fat, these beans are loaded with copper and folate too.
Recipe idea: Add them to your salad or soup. It can be used to make hummus or can be simply enjoyed as a side dish.
You can get 180 mg of calcium in just 2 cups of kale (raw and chopped). Loaded with antioxidant properties, this leafy green can also prevent cell damage.
Recipe idea: Chop and add them to your salad. You can sauté or simply steam kale and eat it as a side dish.
12. Sweet potatoes
One of these big spuds can provide you with 68 mg of calcium. Sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamin A, C, and potassium. Being low in calories and fat, they make excellent diet food.
Recipe idea: Try some sweet potato fries! Slice the potato into strips, add some salt, coconut oil, garlic powder, pepper, and cook them in the oven at 350 degrees. Cook until it turns crispy.
13. Butternut squash
Butternut squash squeezes 84 mg of calcium in a single cup! It also comes with the goodness of potassium that curbs bloating, and carotenoids that promote healthy vision, fight heart ailments, arthritis, and asthma.
Recipe ideas: Roast cubes of the squash in the oven with your favourite spices and olive oil. You can also try them in your various soup recipes.
14. Dried moringa powder
Moringa is literally loaded with calcium! While 8 ounces (226 gm or 236 ml) of milk can help you achieve 300–400 mg of calcium, the same quantity of moringa leaves will help you achieve 1000 mg of the same! Not only that, moringa powder can provide over 4000 mg of calcium.
15. Poppy Seeds
100 gms of khus khus or poppy seeds contains 1,438 mg of calcium! A tablespoon of these seeds meets the daily dietary requirement of calcium. They are also a fantastic source of protein, manganese, and fibre.
Recipe idea: Add poppy seeds to porridge or halwa.
A perfect vegan superfood, 100 gm of chickpeas offer 105 mg of calcium. These legumes are also rich in protein, folate, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
Recipe idea: Boiled or sprouted chickpeas can be added to soup or salad. They are the best ingredients to make thicker gravy.
17. Finger millet or Ragi
Just 100 gm of this healthy millet, Ragi can help you gain 344 mg of calcium. It comes loaded with several polyphenols and phytonutrients that help in regulating blood sugar levels. Nutritious Ragi is gluten-free and a natural source of Vitamin D.
Recipe idea: You can make Ragi chapatis or simply add Ragi flour to your whole wheat flour to make wholesome rotis.
18. Green beans
A serving of 100 gm (about a cup) of green beans, including French beans, long beans, or flat beans, can help you with 56 mg of calcium. Supplemented with vitamin C and fibre, green beans aid in weight loss.
Recipe idea: Steam some green beans and top them with olive oil, ground pepper, pine nuts, and garlic powder to enjoy a healthy snack. Remember not to overcook beans; doing so will compromise their nutrition value.
Calcium is one important mineral needed to prevent the weakening of bones and teeth. Lesser calcium in your body could lead to dysfunction of nerves, reduced brain function, and muscle atrophy (a condition that causes stiffness and rigidity).
If you are a vegan and avoid dairy products or if you are lactose intolerant, you must balance your calcium intake. The key is to maintain this mineral in the body by incorporating the aforementioned dairy-free, calcium-rich food products into your diet.