Calcium is a mineral necessary for various bodily functions, especially for your bone and oral health. For vegans, it can be one of the minerals they need to supplement if their diet does not suffice. When you don’t consume enough calcium, your body will get this mineral from your bones, which may eventually lead to osteoporosis. For this reason, experts recommend taking about 1,000 mg of calcium every day for adults. But, although common, milk and dairy products are not the only sources of calcium. You can also get your daily dose of this essential nutrient from various fruits and vegetables. Here are the best plant sources of calcium.
1. SESAME SEEDS
Sesame seeds are one of the few products with an extremely high calcium content. In fact, you can get as much as 975 mg of calcium in 100 g of this crunchy and nutty-flavored product. Moreover, this tiny food contains other nutrients like iron and magnesium. The best part is that you can easily add sesame seeds to various recipes such as salads, stir-fried veggies, and baked goods.
Another excellent product made from this nutrient-dense seed is tahini, which contains about 426 mg of calcium per 100 g. Aside from being a main ingredient of hummus, you can use this condiment as a spread and salad dressing.
2. CHIA SEEDS
Chia seeds are another nutrient-dense seed in this list of plant sources of calcium. Compared to sesame, the calcium in chia is less but still superior to other products like milk. To be specific, you can get about 631 mg of calcium for every 100 g of this protein-rich seed. But, there’s more. Chia seeds have other nutrients (iron, magnesium, and omega-3) that can increase your energy levels and promote a healthy brain. Because of these effects, chia seed pudding is one of the highly recommended afternoon snacks you can eat to improve your productivity.
3. BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES
Studies have linked table sugar to various health problems, like diabetes and obesity. But, this does not mean that you have to give up your fondness for sweets. There are numerous natural sugar alternatives you can try. One, in particular, is blackstrap molasses.
Basically, blackstrap molasses can provide several essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. As for calcium, two tablespoons of this natural sweetener have approximately 400 mg of calcium.
There are several reasons you should love and enjoy eating a handful of nuts, especially almonds. First, this healthful food is one of the best plant sources of calcium, containing about 264 mg of calcium per 100 g. But, that’s not all. Almonds are also packed with health-promoting nutrients such as fiber, proteins, omega-3, iron, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Aside from being an excellent energy-boosting snack, nuts contain beneficial fats that can fight inflammation and prevent heart diseases. Plus, almonds can also strengthen your body’s defense against ailments like the flu and common colds.
Other varieties of nuts you can try are brazil nuts (160 mg), hazelnuts (114 mg), pistachio nuts (105 mg).
5. FORTIFIED PRODUCTS
To help meet your daily calcium requirement, most food manufacturers add this valuable mineral in their products. Nowadays, you can find several kinds of plant-based milk products with calcium contents equivalent to cow’s milk. But, that’s not all. You can also find cereals, flour, tofu, and orange juice with added calcium. However, you have to check the product’s label to ensure that the food has additional nutrients.
6. LEAFY VEGGIES
A lot of green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium. For example, 100 g of collard greens has around 266 mg of calcium. However, most of these bitter-flavored veggies contain oxalates, antinutrients that can block your body’s absorption of calcium. Thus, these products are not the top choices if you’re searching for the best plant sources of calcium. Nonetheless, cooking can help reduce the oxalates in your food. Plus, green leafy vegetables can provide vitamins, minerals, and potent antioxidants. Other calcium-rich leafy greens are kale (150mg), parsley (138mg), and mustard greens (115 mg).
Finally, as mentioned, certain fruits also have calcium contents, albeit not as high as the other sources in this list. Some of the best choices are dried figs (162 mg), blackcurrant (55 mg), prunes (43 mg), oranges (40 mg), and blackberries (29 mg). The calcium contents are based on 100 grams of the fruit.
Instead of grabbing for your sugar-laced yogurt, cow’s milk, or cheese pizza, consider the fact that a dollop of tahini is all your body is craving to get your daily source of calcium.