Getting calcium is important for your bones to stay healthy. 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. However, many people have dairy allergies that have a negative impact on your calcium consumption. The good thing is that you CAN get calcium from plant based foods.
Calcium is found abundantly in so many plant-based foods, many of which might surprise you. You don’t need to worry about getting enough on a plant-based diet since most all plant food sources of calcium are easy to absorb. They contain other nutrients that provide your body with bone and heart support, and best of all, they aren’t acidic like dairy. Highly acidic dairy foods and other animal foods actually break down your bones and contribute to a large number of health problems.
By far one of the best sources of calcium is collard greens, which contain 268 milligrams in one cup of cooked greens. Collards are also fairly low in oxylates, which bind to calcium in the body and can lead to poor absorption. It’s a great alternative to spinach for this reason, which is high in oxylates (though also high in calcium.)
About eight to ten dried figs contain as much calcium as one glass of milk. Not too shabby for such a delicious little dried fruit, eh? Figs are also a great source of fiber, iron, and potassium. We love using them in kale salad, energy bars, smoothies, and porridge.
Many people are surprised to learn that broccoli is a fantastic source of calcium, containing 180 milligrams in just one cup of cooked broccoli and 115 mg in one raw stalk. Eating a cup a day can easily help you increase your calcium intake to ensure you get enough. Not a fan of steamed broccoli? Sneak a couple florets into your next smoothie recipe or even your next batch of veggie burgers.
Chia seeds are loaded with calcium and yield many benefits as a result. I’ve specifically noticed how much stronger my nails, hair, and my muscles are since adding chia to my diet. Chia contains roughly 177 milligrams per ounce (about two tablespoons), which is 18 percent of your daily needs. That’s incredible for such a tiny seed! Adding a tablespoon twice a day to your smoothies, oatmeal, salads, baked goods, and entrees is a great way to ensure that you get enough.
You’ll need 1000 milligrams of calcium to reach your daily quota without a supplement, so eat as many plant-based sources of calcium to get this important nutrient into your diet without an ounce of dairy needed.