The most common mineral found in the body is calcium. It is the foundation for bone and teeth development, and is also important for heart health, nerve signaling, and muscle function. In fact, calcium is used by almost every cell in our bodies. If we do not consume enough calcium from food sources, then our bones and teeth will be leached of calcium to meet our bodies’ needs, so it is important to meet your daily calcium requirement.
It is commonplace to name milk, cheese, and other dairy foods as typical and superior sources of calcium, however, there are plenty of vegan calcium options that are not only kinder to animals but also to our bodies. For example, commercial cow’s milk contains hormones that are meant for cows, not humans. Even the organic brands of milk contain hormones that are naturally found in the animal. Interestingly enough, calcium is a mineral found in soil (just like copper, iron, and magnesium), and the roots of plants absorb these minerals. We have all been taught to believe that calcium comes from dairy products, however, it occurs in milk because these plants are consumed by milk-producing animals. When we go straight to the source and eat a plant-based diet, we enjoy all of the benefits of more bioavailable vegan calcium alternatives that are void of the toxins found in animal products.
Below you will find ten calcium-rich vegan foods to incorporate into your nutrition regimen. As a reference point, one cup of milk has roughly 305 milligrams of calcium–these following sources have comparable amounts, some boasting higher absorption rates than dairy.
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds = 351 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup cooked collard greens = 300 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup cooked spinach = 245 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup chickpeas = 210 milligrams of calcium
- 1/2 cup dry plain oats = 200 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup white beans = 126 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup raw kale = 101 milligrams of calcium
- 23 almonds = 75 milligrams of calcium
- 1 whole orange = 74 milligrams of calcium
- 1 cup butternut squash = 67 milligrams of calcium
Daily Calcium Requirements:
- 1,000 milligrams per day for most adults.
- 1,200 milligrams per day for women over 50 years old.
- 1,200 milligrams per day for men and women over 70 years old.
- Children ages 4 to 18 are advised to consume 1,300 milligrams.