10 Surprisingly Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

What Are Some Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

We all know that calcium is essential for good bone health. Since our kinder years, it has been drilled into us that calcium comes from cows… and I’m sure we can all recite the 3 recommended servings of dairy per day. The problem with those recommendations is that it doesn’t take into account the fact that dairy, alongside beef, is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and kefir, and I do advocate that dairy has an important role in general nutrition. But if you are like me, and struggle to get your ‘three recommended serves of dairy’ in, maybe its time to start looking at other sources of non-dairy calcium foods to ensure we are meeting the recommended targets for bone health.

Winter Kale Whole Wheat Pizza

Winter Kale Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe

10 Surprisingly Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

For the general adult population, we should be aiming for 1000mg of calcium per day. For reference sake, a glass of dairy milk has ~300mg of calcium. Here are my top 10 surprisingly non-dairy source of calcium.

  1. Soybeans, cooked 1 cup – 175mg
  2. Figs, 5 – 88-137mg
  3. Navy Beans, cooked 1 cup 127mg
  4. Collard Greens, 1/2 cup cooked – 113mg
  5. Black beans, cooked 1 cup – 46-`102mg
  6. Kale, raw 1/2 cup – 90mg
  7. Seaweed, raw 1/2 cup – 67mg
  8. Sesame Tahini, hulled – ~50mg
  9. Flaxseeds, 2 tbsp. – 47mg
  10. Oranges, 1 med – 52mg

Note: For beans and nuts, the calcium absorption can be maximised by soaking the food before consumption.

For more information on non-dairy sources of calcium and the role calcium has to play for bone health check out my post Maximising Calcium For Bone Health on a Dairy Free Diet. More information on dairy free milk alternatives can be found here Milk Alternatives, Finding The Best One For You.

Summer Japanese Salad Bowl with Brown Rice and a Miso Tahini Dressing

Healthy and Vegetarian Japanese Salad Bowl with Brown Rice and a Miso Tahini Dressing

About Rachel

  • hi! found you on the BlogHer thread and was immediately drawn to your post because my lactose intolerance has reached it’s tolerance! i appreciate you listing out other ways to get calcium because i am concerned about getting enough, especially now that i can’t sneak cheese/yogurts and not pay a price!

    • Hey Chelsea! I’m glad we found each other through BlogHer! It’s amazing how many non-dairy sources of calcium there are out there. I for one was so happy to discover figs are a great source of calcium. Sometimes you just can’t eat all the cheese and yogurt that you need to!!

  • Anne|Craving Something Healthy

    Stopping by from BlogHer to say hi from another RD! Love your blog and looking forward to trying some of your recipes :)

    • Thanks for stopping by Anne!

  • Anne Marie

    I LOVE this post, Rachel! As a vegetarian who for the most part, avoids milk and cheese (I just can’t commit to full vegan when brie is around), one of the main questions people ask and ask and ask is, “well where do you get your calcium?!” So now instead of going into my usual answer, I can just forward them this blog post. :) Love your blog and am excited to have found you via BlogHer!

    • Thank you for your kind words Anne Marie :) We are very alike in that cheese is our weakness into the dairy world! Kale has definitely been my saviour for meeting my calcium requirements. We are so lucky that this green can grown year round!

  • Thank you for this!

    • No worries Christina, I hope you found it helpful!