Calcium is a nutrient derived from the soil and is an important nutrient you need to maintain a healthy nervous system, healthy blood pressure levels, strong bones and teeth, and to prevent osteoporosis. Most people are aware that dairy and fish are two animal-based foods that contain calcium, but you’ll be pleased, and maybe even surprised, to find that many plant-based foods also provide calcium, and some even have more than animal-based foods do.
Highly acidic dairy foods and other animal foods may actually break down your bones and contribute to a large number of health problems. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, will actually prevent that breakdown and also protect the body against inflammation.
Learn more about calcium, how to get enough, and get delicious ways to add more to your meals with our guide to plant-based calcium!
Calcium is one of the best nutrients that provide your body with bone support, healthy nervous system function and healthier blood pressure levels Calcium also supports healthy blood pressure, enhances a healthy sleep cycle, and it supports overall hair and nail health. It can also influence the health of your teeth since it provides structural support to all areas of the body. Other nutrients play a role in how well calcium is absorbed and utilized in the body, such as Vitamins D and K, and the minerals magnesium and phosphorous.
Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis, weak or brittle bones, poor thyroid function, PMS, and it also assists with weight loss since it helps lower cortisol. Calcium can also help prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) and helps with overall stress management.
RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE
Adults ages 18 and above need at least 1,000 milligrams per day at a minimum. Postmenopausal women or anyone who consume large amounts of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or who take medications, such as corticosteroids, could also need calcium supplements. Individuals with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or other intestinal disorders could also need calcium supplements due to poor absorption and mineral loss. A plant-based diet rich in calcium-rich foods will easily provide enough if you eat a few at each meal in healthy portion sizes.
- leafy greens
- fortified instant
- chia seeds
- sesame seeds
- fortified non-dairy milks (soy and almond are the best)
- some soy foods such as tofu or soy yogurt
- white beans
- bok choy
- dried figs
- Blackstrap molasses
- navy beans
- baobab fruit
There is actually more calcium in 4 ounces of tofu, and collard greens than there is in an 8 ounce glass of milk, which makes getting enough pretty simple on a plant-based diet. Teff and millet are also two “super seeds” packed with calcium that can replace grains in your meals as well.
RECIPES WITH CALCIUM
- Creamy Millet and Cashew Pudding
- Brain Food Porridge- Millet, Dried Figs, Cinnamon, and Orange
- Almond Butter Chocolate Protein Bars
- Raw Almond Fig Bars
- Homemade Almond Milk
- Almond Butter and Chia Jam Bars With Chocolate
- Asian Ginger Tofu With Carrot Rice and Bok Choy
- Stir Fried Crunchy Bengali Bok Choy
- Indian Broccoli Manchurian Stir Fry
- Sesame Tofu and Broccoli Salad
See our other non-dairy meal ideas and tips for achieving your calcium without milk!
- 10 Dairy-Free Foods Packed With Calcium
- The Importance of Calcium and How to Get Enough Without Dairy
- Cow’s Milk May Actually Be Bad for Your Bones
- 5 Calcium-Rich Meal Combos to Keep Your Bones Strong, No Dairy-Required
- Healthy Sources of Dairy-Free Calcium
- Explain Like I’m 5: Why Dairy is Not the Best Source of Calcium
- 5 Ways to Optimize Bone Health
- Health Benefits of Calcium Outside of Building Strong Bones
- This Superfood is Twice as High in Calcium Than Milk With More Antioxidants Than Goji or Acai!
You can choose to take a calcium supplement, but be advised that calcium competes with magnesium for absorption in the body, so you may need to take a calcium and magnesium combination, or simply each calcium and magnesium-rich foods (which are luckily found in many of the same foods). Also, be sure to take a Vitamin D3 supplement to aid in calcium absorption.
Here are some options:
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Protein
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Healthy Fats
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Complex Carbs/Fiber
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin A
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: B Vitamins
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin C
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin D
- Plant-Based Nutrition 101: Vitamin E
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin K
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Magnesium
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Iron
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Zinc
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Calcium(CURRENT PAGE)