15 Plant-Based Foods That Meet Your Calcium Needs
One of the leading principles of holistic nutrition is to recognize that each person is biochemically different and requires a unique balance of nutrients to obtain optimal health. I think we all can agree that consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods serves as a potent defense against virtually all forms of ill health and as a source of vital energy.
Vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume, and unbeknownst to some, an excellent source of one of most abundant minerals in the human body — calcium.
Why We Need Calcium
Your skeleton contains 99% of your body’s calcium. Calcium is deposited in your bones until your mid-20s, where they then serve as a ‘bank’ later in life to draw calcium out to meet your needs. And while calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth, it is also important for muscle development, healthy blood pressure, and skin health.
Mooove Over Milk
Dairy is the most recommended food source of calcium but by no means the only food source or even the best food source due to widespread allergies to dairy. In fact, lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances, affecting up to 65% of the world’s adult population.
Lucky for those who have trouble digesting and absorbing the nutrients in dairy products there are numerous plant based foods that are just as high (if not higher) in calcium than dairy products. Choosing plant-based foods for your calcium needs offers a multitude of benefits. Unlike milk, plant-based calcium sources contain vitamins C and K and the minerals potassium and magnesium, which are all important co-factors supporting healthy bones.
Only 32-33% of the calcium from dairy products is absorbed. Plant-based sources of calcium are generally more absorbable than animal sources, as we can digest the plant-based foods easier, break them down more efficienltly, and utilize their nutrients better. Our body only needs 300-400 mg of calcium per day, but when consuming dairy we need to consume 1000-1200 mg per day due to the reduced absorption rate.
15 of the most calcium-rich plant-based foods:
Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)
Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)
Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)
Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)
Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)
Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)
Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)
Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)
Non-GMO Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)
Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)
Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)
Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)
Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)
Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)
A plant-based diet does wonders for the body, from aiding in better digestion and helping to build healthy bone structure, to reducing depression and staving off cancers. These fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-dense whole foods are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other nutrients essential for obtaining optimal health.
Let’s Hear It!
What are some of your favorite plant-based foods? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or join the conversation in the NS Facebook community and let me know how you get your calcium!