The fifth most abundant element on the Earth’s crust, calcium, is known to chemists as, Ca, atomic number 20. The body recognizes it as a structurally and metabolically significant mineral, depositing it in the teeth and bones and utilizing it for muscle contraction, heart-beat, and blood clotting. Clean calcium absolutely does not have to come from milk — it can be sourced easily from plants not treated with pesticides or grown in tainted soil. All of these foods below are clean if you buy them organic. Scope out your local grocery store for all of these calcium-filled foods in the organic section! Here are some of the cleanest plant-based sources of calcium – no milk necessary!

1. Broccoli

One cup of cooked broccoli provides 45-62 milligrams of calcium with an absorption rate of 50-60 percent. The absorption rate is not 100 percent because of the vegetable’s oxalate concentration which blocks or reduces some of the mineral’s absorption. Don’t fret, though! Bake up some broccoli burgers and you’ll still get a decent amount of calcium.

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2Collard Greens

One cup of cooked collard greens contains 266 milligrams of calcium, but these dark leafy greens also contain oxalate. Despite this, peer-reviewed research studies have shown the ability of this compound to lower Ca absorption is relatively minute and should not sway people away from eating collards and broccoli. So, get fancy and make collard wraps!

3. White Beans and Navy Beans

White beans have 161 mg of calcium per cup; navy beans, 126 mg. However, the absorption rate for beans is substantially lower than broccoli, which means at 17 percent, for white beans, 38 mg are actually absorbed. Still, don’t give up beans! They are a great source of protein and calcium, so whip up this soup, or stick ‘em in these veggie burgers.

4. Dried Figs

A mere serving of 10 dried figs delivers 140-269 mg of calcium. Whether you like to pop these sweet fruits straight into your mouth or in some oatmeal, you’re guaranteed to get 10-20 percent of your daily calcium requirement.

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5.  Butternut Squash

Baked butternut squash dishes out 84 mg of calcium per cup. That’s a good amount for a starchy orange vegetable, if I do say so myself! Try it in a pilaf or in a casserole. Your dinner will be jam-packed with calcium.

Don’t fall prey to the assumption that dairy consumption is necessary for adequate amounts of calcium. Aim for 1000 milligrams of calcium a day to ensure a sufficient amount of this nutrient. Calcium can readily be found in plant-based sources, like these five, and other fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. Research for yourself your favorite plant foods and see just how rich in calcium they truly are!

Image Source: Raw Cream of Broccoli Soup

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