You grew up putting the “Got Milk?” mustache ads on your wall as a teenager, so of course you know that dairy is a great source of calcium and helps to keep your bones nice and strong. But for those who are lactose-intolerant, vegan or just cutting back on dairy, what’s the alternative? We tapped nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman for eight surprising calcium rich foods that aren't dairy.
“It is recommended that an adult below the age of 50 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day,” Harju-Westman tells us. And not only are these tiny fish full of essential omega-3 fats, but they also pack 350 milligrams of calcium in just one small can. Toss a couple into a salad or you could make them into deliciously salty chips (yes, really).
You probably think of the brightly-colored fruit as a vitamin C powerhouse, but one orange also has over 70 milligrams of calcium. Not too shabby.
What to make: Ombré Citrus Upside-Down Cake
In addition to being a good source of calcium, figs also boast high levels of antioxidants and fiber. “Eating approximately five dried figs per day can provide you with around 135 milligrams of calcium, which goes a long way in helping you to achieve the required daily intake,” Harju-Westman says.
What to make: Prosciutto and Fig Salad Board
Not only is our favorite cruciferous vegetable jam-packed with essential nutrients including vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous, but it also contains exceptionally high levels of calcium. Yep, it definitely has super-vegetable status.
What to make: Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin
A lot of nuts contain a significant amount of calcium, but almonds are also one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming, which helps immune function and energy, Harju-Westman tells us. Consider this permission to go nuts on the almond butter (just watch out for the extra sugar, OK?)
6. White Beans
White beans are rich in protein, iron, fiber and calcium, containing approximately 175 milligrams of calcium per serving. Time for a warming bowl of chili.
7. Leafy Greens
“Leafy greens such as kale contain zero fat, are extremely low in calories and have high levels of calcium,” Harju-Westman tells us. No surprises there.
What to make: Coconut Creamed Spinach
8. Vitamin D Foods
“Whether you are taking in calcium from dairy or non-dairy foods, it’s essential that you have enough vitamin D in your diet, as your body cannot properly absorb calcium without this important vitamin,” Harju-Westman explains. Stock up on salmon, egg yolks and swordfish to make sure that you get your fill.