NYS Certified Nutritionist

Non-dairy Sources of Calcium

Calcium is a required mineral, used for building bone, nerve conduction, and muscle contraction, among other activities of our bodies. Dairy products are usually thought of as the most obvious source of calcium in our diets. But, many people are allergic to dairy products, suffer from lactose intolerance, or prefer eating a vegan diet [exclusively plant-based]. These need not prevent us from getting the calcium we need.

Humans are the only mammals that continue to consume dairy products after we are weaned. Many take their cues from Mother Nature, and decide there is wisdom in her approach, and look for non-dairy sources of calcium. Most of us should be getting 1,000-1.200 mg. of calcium per day. With this requirement in mind, it is worth knowing there are good non-dairy sources of calcium. Take a look….

Sardines [canned including mashed bones]—3 oz., 325mg calcium

Soy Milk—1 cup, 300mg calcium

Orange Juice [calcium fortified]—6 oz., 260mg calcium

Tofu [firm]—1/2 cup, 250mg calcium

Salmon [canned including mashed bones]—3 oz., 180mg calcium

Figs—1/2 cup, 120mg calcium

Almonds [whole]—1/2 cup, 250mg calcium

In addition, vitamin/mineral fortified cereals often contain significant amounts of calcium, as do turnip greens, kale, and broccoli. All of these options add to our daily count of our milligrams of calcium.

Getting adequate calcium on a dairy free diet is possible with a little planning, and exploration. Just keeping track of the numbers of milligrams consumed, as we eat our way through our day, can help us meet the amount required for optimal health.

Dateline: Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York State’s Capital Region