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14 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium

14 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium

Kathy Garbick

14 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and is found naturally in a wide variety of foods and beverages and added to many others!

It’s no secret that calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth, but it goes beyond that. This mineral also helps the body maintain healthy blood vessels, regulate blood pressure, and even prevent insulin resistance (which could lead to Type 2 diabetes). Adults should consume about 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

The main calcium contenders are milk, yogurt, and cheese, but dairy shouldn’t be the only dietary pit stop to fill up on this nutrient. Leafy greens, seafood, legumes, and fruit also contain calcium and many foods and drinks are fortified with the mineral. Just remember to try and pair non-dairy sources of calcium with vitamin D: The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium!

Here’s a list of foods and beverages filled with calcium

1. White Beans
191 mg in 1 cup canned

Creamy and light, these legumes are a great source of calcium and iron . Add them to a pasta dish with veggies, or skip the chickpeas and make your own hummus with white beans.

2. Canned Salmon
232 mg in ½ can with bones  (which provides the calcium!)

To avoid putting a dent in the wallet, canned salmon is a great way to go. Here’s the catch: It’s the bones in canned salmon that hold all the calcium, so they need to be mashed up right along with the salmon meat for all the benefits! But don’t get turned off just yet—the canning process softens the bones so they easily break apart and are unnoticeable when mixed in with the rest of the can’s contents. For a boost of calcium and omega 3’s, try these salmon cakes.

3. Sardines
321 mg in about 7 sardines fillets

There’s nothing fishy about sardines—they are one of the healthiest fish to munch on! Along with calcium, they also provide a hefty dose of omega 3’s and vitamin D. Try adding them to a Greek salad or eat 'em straight out of the can.

4. Dried Figs
107 mg in 8 whole dried figs
For a sweet treat, this dried fruit packs an antioxidant, fiber, and calcium punch . Eat them as a mid-day snack, or turn these delicious dried fruits into a creamy jam.

5. Bok Choy
74 mg in 1 cup

This versatile Chinese cabbage provides a hefty dose of vitamins A and C, along with calcium and fiber. Stir-fry bok choy with garlic and olive oil for a perfect side dish.

6. Almond Milk
200 mg  in 1 cup

When the sweet tooth strikes, it’s best to go natural. Blackstrap molasses is darker in color and richer in flavor than regular molasses, and is filled with calcium, iron, and other vitamins. Plus, it’s a great sweet and flavorful addition to many dishes. Drizzle some on pancakes, or use it to make brown sugar.

7. Kale
188 mg in 2 cups raw (chopped)

This superfood is filled with calcium and antioxidants, and is perfect to use as the base of any salad when shredded into thin strips. A kale salad with apricots and avocado is a perfect springtime dish.

8. Black-eyed Peas
185 mg in 1/2 cup canned

These beans are filled with calcium, potassium, folate, and more! Skip the fat-filled mayo and whip up this black-eyed pea spread to pump up any sandwich or appetizer.

9. Almonds
72 mg in ¼ cup dry roasted (about 20 nuts)

You’re "nuts" if you don’t grab a handful of almonds every now and then! They’re the most nutritionally dense nut, packing a crazy amounts of nutrients per calorie and ounce. Aside from calcium, they also contain potassium, vitamin E, and iron. Sprinkle on a salad or make your own almond butter. Just watch out for portion size!

10. Oranges
65 mg in 1 medium fruit

Orange-you glad we included oranges?! Full of vitamin C and calcium, enjoy this fruit as a mid-morning snack, or use its citrus flavor to brighten up any dish, like these honey-orange carrots.

11. Turnip Greens
197 mg in 1 cup cooked (chopped)

This leafy green comes from turnip bulbs, and is filled with calcium, antioxidants, and folate, which could help improve mood.

12. Sesame Seeds
88 mg in 1 tablespoon

These unassuming seeds are more than just a hamburger bun decoration. Sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and may even fight against certain cancers. Use their nutty crunch in a salad, or add to this sautéed spinach dish.

13. Seaweed
126 mg in about 1 cup raw

Fish aren’t the only, well, fish in the sea. Seaweed is full of calcium, fiber, and iodine, which helps with proper thyroid function .

14. Firm Tofu
861 mg in ½ cup

We know what you’re thinking: What exactly is tofu? This meaty textured vegetarian alternative is actually made of dried soybeans that have been grounded up and boiled. It’s a great way to add lots of protein, little fat, and (of course) calcium to any meal! What’s on the dinner table tonight?