Education, Food, Nutrient Basics, Taste, Vitamins and Minerals

Vegan Calcium Sources

Image by Regional History Center & NIU Archives

Growing up as a good American, I have been taught that drinking a glass of milk a day is vital to a healthy and rounded diet. Milk “does a body good” after all, right? The basis for this iconic slogan is that milk is the number one source of calcium. Without it, our bones will become frail and we will never grow big and strong. Well, about 5 years ago I decided to, or my belly decided to, to go against that thinking and give up all dairy. Since then I have become extremely conscious and aware of what I eat, so that I can make sure to get all the nutrients I need.

To my great surprise, milk was no higher in calcium then many non-dairy sources. In fact, many vegetables, seeds and superfoods are even up to 4 times as rich. Furthermore, I discovered that one of the main vitamins needed for calcium absorption was not even present in many types of dairy.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for optimum calcium utilization, and when manufacturers take the fat out of milk (like in low and nonfat milk), there is no fat available to transport vitamin D. So, what you are left with is a source of calcium, with no source of vitamin D that can be used by the body. With that knowledge on that table, these other sources of calcium become that much more appealing. Or at least to me they did!

The following is a list of great sources of non-dairy calcium options. So whether your a vegan or just want to increase your calcium levels this should be quite helpful. Oh ya, as a reference, they typically suggest anywhere between 700-1000 mg of calcium a day.

Image by by TonisTreehouse

Vegetables (cooked)- Per 1 Cup

Bok Choy- 330 mg

Bean Sprouts- 320 mg

Spinach- 250 mg

Collard Greens- 260 mg

Mustard Greens- 450 mg

Swiss Chard- 102 mg

Broccoli- 62 mg

Nuts- Per 1/4 Cup

Sprouted Raw Almonds– 165 mg

Sprouted Raw Walnuts– 70 mg

Image by GimmeFood

Raw Sesame seeds- 110 mg

Sesame seed butter (Tahini)– 126 mg

Raw Sprouted Sunflower seeds– 33 mg

Beans- Per 1 Cup

Garbanzo beans- 340 mg

Super Foods

Molasses (1 tbs)- 130 mg

Dried Figs (3 oz)- 100 mg

Kelp (1 cup)- 136 mg

Flax Seeds (2 tbs)- 52 mg

Image by GO FOR LIFE SWEDEN

Salba (2 tbs)- 78 mg

Chia Seeds (2 tbs)- 177 mg

Chia Seed Butter

Carob (1/2 cup)- 352 mg

Goji Berries (1/2 cup)- 112 mg

Mesquite (1 cup)- 520 mg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Deborah Domanski March 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for your wonderful blog – really been enjoying this recent discovery!

    For the calcium-containing veggies, it says “cooked.” Do you know if cooking alters the properties of the calcium, as opposed to just juicing these sources?

    Thanks!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren March 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Deborah, you are so very welcome! Cooking vegetables often makes nutrients more bio-available to the body. Meaning that they can be more easily absorbed and then used. But we are only talking about lightly steamed. Once you start to increase the heat, you begin to destroy the nutrients. Therefore, you can either eat more of them raw, or lightly lightly steam them.

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