Calcium is an essential nutrient that is necessary for many functions in human health. Bone formation and maintenance is a lifelong process. Early attention to strong bones in childhood and adulthood will provide more stable bone mass during the aging years. Research has shown that adequate calcium intake can reduce the risk of fractures, osteoporosis.
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are the best sources of calcium, but many non-dairy foods are also rich in the mineral. The following foods are rich in calcium and contain no animal-based products.
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health. This includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein.
The calcium content is particularly impressive — 177mg of calcium in 28 grams chia seeds. As a result, chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
Add chia seeds to smoothies or mix them into oatmeal or yogurt for a little added crunch.
140 gm (1 cup) sunflower seeds provide 109 mg calcium.
These seeds are also rich in magnesium, which balances the effects of calcium in the body and regulates nerve and muscle health. In addition, sunflower seed kernels also contain vitamin E. Together, these nutrients can promote bone strength and flexibility and prevent bone loss.
Finger Millet/ Ragi
Ragi flour is one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium when compared to any other grains. According to the National Institute of Nutrition in India, 100 grams of Ragi contains 344 mg calcium.
(Read more about –> Health benefits of finger millet ragi and easy ragi recipes)
One large sweet potato contains 68 mg of calcium. These vegetables are also rich in potassium and vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that may promote good vision, have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K and calcium, two vital nutrients for maintaining strong, healthy bones. It also contains phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and C, which are necessary for healthy bones as well.
Sesame seeds are rich in several nutrients that boost bone health. Eating just 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds adds 88 mg of calcium to a person’s diet. However, sesame seeds contain natural compounds called oxalates and phytates, antinutrients that reduce the absorption of these minerals. To limit these compounds impact, try soaking, roasting, or sprouting the seeds. One study found that sprouting reduced phytate and oxalate concentration by about 50% in both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds.
Try toasting them and sprinkling the seeds over a salad or baking them in bread for a nuttier flavor.
(Read more about –> Can sesame seeds help to control your cholesterol levels?)
Dried figs are rich in antioxidants and fiber. They also have more calcium than other dried fruits. Moreover, figs provide decent amounts of potassium and vitamin K.
Soybeans and soy-based foods are great sources of calcium. They also offer complete protein, fiber, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. Foods made from soybeans, such as tofu, tempeh are also rich in this mineral.
As per the USDA, one and a half cup of chickpeas contains about 315 mg of calcium along with filling fiber and protein. You can roast them and eat them as a snack with lime, onions and tomatoes or use them to make a wholesome soup.
(Read more about –> Chickpeas in Menopause)
Of all nuts, almonds are among the highest in calcium – 385 mg calcium in 1 cup (140 gm) almonds. Almonds also provide fibers, healthy fats and protein. In addition, they’re an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and vitamin E. Eating nuts may help lower blood pressure, body fat and other risk factors for metabolic disease.
One cup of white beans yields 161 mg of calcium. White beans are a low-fat food and are also rich in iron. Add them to your favorite soup or salad, eat them in a side dish, or use them in hummus.
Okra/ Lady’s finger
100 gm Okra provides 82 mg calcium. Okra also contains constipation-fighting insoluble fiber, as well as vitamin B6, A, C and folate. Okra is also a significant source of protein, fiber, iron, and zinc. Many people enjoy the vegetable boiled, fried, pickled, or roasted.
(Read more about –> Health benefits of Okra)
Orange is calcium rich fruit. These fruits contain about 45 to 50 milligrams of calcium along with powerful vitamins such as Vitamin C.
The fruit has great health benefits as well. It is rich in Lycopene, Vitamin C and antioxidants and it is also a fruit which is rich in calcium. These fruit is a crucial immunity booster and equally beneficial for pregnant woman, being rich in folic acid.
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Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark leafy greens are incredibly healthy, and some of them are high in calcium. Greens that have good amounts of this mineral include collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, kale etc.
But, some varieties are high in oxalates, which are naturally occurring compounds that bind to calcium, making some of it unavailable to your body. Spinach is one of them. So although it has a lot of calcium, it’s less available than the calcium in low-oxalate greens, such as kale and collard greens.
Makhanas / Fox nuts
Makhana is loaded with calcium, which help in maintaining the health of your teeth and bones. Consuming it will make your bones stronger. It also helps people with joint problems and osteoporosis.
(Read more about –> Health Benefits Of Makhanas or Foxnuts and a recipe with makhanas)