Calcium on a Vegan Diet

My non-vegan friends often ask how vegans can get enough food without dairy. The general public is under the impression that an individual has to consume animal protein for calcium, but this is not true. Today I’m going to show you 7 foods you can eat on a vegan diet that will give you more than enough calcium for a healthy lifestyle.

Do you need dairy to have healthy bones?

Many people grow up with the belief that if you drink milk, it will give you healthy bones. Now that we know more about the topic this might not be the case.

The consumption of dairy as part of your diet is been one of the most misunderstood areas for the general public. The old thinking was influenced by skewed information and generous marketing budgets of the top dairy companies.

Yale University conducted a study on patients with hip fractures and found that high consumption of dairy resulted in larger numbers of fractures. That’s right, consuming too much dairy can actually result in a greater chance of broken bones, not less.

In fact, the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are those with the highest consumption of dairy! There is evidence that shows that cow’s milk can lead to an over-calcification of the bones which can be detrimental.

Calcium is important for healthy bone development, but it is not the only consideration, you also need Vitamin D and Magnesium.

The key ingredients to bone development can be consumed in the following foods below, and some of these foods may shock you.

CALCIUM = STRONG BONES?

Thoughtfully consuming the correct mixture of nutrients and vitamins is the most logical way of achieving optimum bone health.

Unfortunately, dairy consumption alone can not deliver this for you because the effects of dairy on the human body tend to be detrimental to health, rather than aid it. This is shown by the evidence that dairy consumption can lead to over-calcification of the bones (see above).

But, Calcium is not the enemy!

Calcium is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. It helps with brain health, aids in the balance of alkaline/acidity, and even helps with blood pressure.

So, let’s look at so of the healthiest ways of consuming this healthy little nutrient (as well as many other nutrients)?

Vegan foods that are rich in calcium

The amount of calcium that you will require is based on your age and sex. You can see what the USDA recommends for your individual situation.

The good news for a non-dairy eater is that you can consume the amount of calcium required to be healthy from a variety of natural foods.

As an added benefit, by consuming the below foods, you will be getting other essential vitamins and nutrients.

1. Chia Seeds

calcium foods vegan

I love my Chia Pudding around 3 pm each day!

In addition to being an excellent source of iron and protein, you will also get your hit of calcium and magnesium. It’s a good source of Omega 3, zinc, and B vitamins.

Amount: 2.5 Tablespoons = 300 milligrams.

Note: If you didn’t know already, the best way to eat your chia seeds is by soaking them overnight in some almond or soy milk. They are perfect with the fruit of your choice first thing in the morning.


2. Tofu

calcium foods vegan

Tofu can be such a delicious addition to so many meals because it is the perfect host to the meal you are making and so versatile.

Tofu can be such a delicious addition to so many meals because it is the perfect host to the meal you are making and so versatile.

Amount: ½ Cup = 350 milligrams

If you would like a really great recipe that includes Tofu, then check out our easy vegan lunch recipes.


3. Leafy Greens

​Leafy greens are packed full of the resources you need to be healthy. Plus, a real (backyard) Master Chef should have the skills to make these ‘blank canvases’ into a masterpiece on the dinner table.

Pro Tip: If you cook your leafy greens before serving, it will improve the chances of absorption.

The amount that you are recommended to consume is based on whether you are eating raw or cooked. This resource suggests that you should eat 3-4 servings per week of dark green leafy vegetables, such as Kale.


4. Plant-Based Milk

The best thing about our day and age is the variety of natural non-dairy milk alternatives. I prefer the texture and taste of almond, soy and rice milk to cow’s milk, so it works out pretty well!

Simply add it to your Oats in the morning or substitute your milk with rice milk in your coffee.

Amount: 1 Cup = 300 – 500 milligrams of Calcium


5. Broccoli

As long as you don’t over boil/cook these bad boys they can be an excellent source of calcium in your diet. As a suggestion, only light steam them for best results.

Admittedly, the amount of calcium is not as dense as other foods, but you can add them to most lunch and dinner options in conjunction with another source.

Amount: 1 cup = 62 milligrams


6. Almonds

They are the perfect in-between meal snack or pre-workout energy kickstart – plus they are delicious!

Additionally, they are an excellent source of Vitamin E and magnesium.

Amount: ¼ cup = 90-95 milligrams which are relatively high in calcium for a nut.


7. Figs

Where we were staying this summer in Croatia, I was pleased to see a 40-year-old fig tree that was fruiting. Each and every day we could harvest 1-2 kg of this amazingly healthy and delicious fruit.

Figs are amazing for the digestive system; they are also nutrient-dense!

Amount: 5 figs = 135 milligrams of calcium

Conclusion

So, no matter what way you look at it, there are so many healthier options for getting your daily dose of the healthy, life-giving, bone loving nutrient – Calcium


What vegan foods do you eat to get enough calcium in your diet? Let us know in the comments below.​

Gary Edwards

Gary is a contributor to YourVegan Kitchen. Gary loves helping others to improve their nutrition and enjoys playing tennis. He's determined to show how easy it is to maintain a healthy vegan diet

One thought on “7 Calcium-Rich Foods for a Vegan Diet

  • October 15, 2016 at 7:34 am
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    This is something that is very important not just for vegans, but all people. Calcium plays a big part in overall health.

    Its nice to see a website that is covering more plant-based food solutions.

    Keep up the great work!

    Amanda

    Reply

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